For the last couple of weeks - as long as The Boy has been in a heavy-duty "cast" type of bandage that has required that I cover it with a plastic bag before I take him outside to do business, I have told Appuk [the gardener], "Do not wash the sidewalk and patio. It must be dry." [Actually this has been an ongoing issue - for far, far longer than just The Boy being bandaged up, because Appuk wants to hose the patio down and the salt water is killing the outdoor furniture. DO NOT hose it down. Sweep it. Yes. It is more work for him - but too bad - that is what I am paying him to do, work!] " Yes, Madam. Verree dirt-ee." I don't care, Appuk, do NOT get it wet. " Yes, Madam. I will clean." No. No. No. No. No! There is a language barrier between us, Appuk, but when I turn the hose off and say NO, I figure that you have got to be semi-understanding what it is I am trying to tell you. [I think these guys understand me better than they let on.]
So, Sunday morning, I get home from the vet's office with The Boy and don't 'cha know - the sidewalk is wet. What the heck is wrong with you Appuk? Do I need to beat you with the hose? [And, this, is exactly how abuse of domestic help starts. I am getting it. I haven't done it, but I am beginning to understand why it is such a problem.] Appuk tells me he watered the flowers. "Must give water to flower, Madam." Yes. I understand that. But that does not require watering the sidewalk. DO NOT get the sidewalk wet again. DO NOT hose the patio down. DO NOT get my patio furniture, or The Boy's chaise wet. DO YOU UNDERSTAND. "Yes, Madam. I will clean it." UUGGHHH! Stop. Do not. Leave. Now. See you tomorrow. Best you leave right this minute before something happens that both of us are going to regret. You won't have a job and I won't have a gardener.
Beyond the fact that The Boy has had this bandaging on that we were given very clear instructions to not allow it to get wet, the pool tile is done... What does one have to do with the other? There are seven and a half boxes of tile left over. Rev way overestimated what was going to be required. He has promised to return the unused tiles so that we can get our money back. The tiles were neatly stacked on the sidewalk that Appuk watered. Now, Rev, or one of his workers is going to come in here, grab a box of those tiles and it is going to go smashing onto the sidewalk because the cardboard that the tiles are boxed in got wet, and we are not going to be able to get our money back for a pile of smashed and broken tile. Appuk was clueless when I tried to point this out to him. Looked right at me with such an empty "look" that I'm quite positive that "no one is home" inside. Heck. The lights aren't even on. Who am I kidding? If he didn't do as good of job as he does with the yard and flowers...
The pool. The guys came on Friday to finish the pool work. Well, mostly. The tile was actually all up on Monday of last week, but it had to "set" and "dry" before it could be grouted. Three of them came, first thing in the morning and got to work. That was the easy part, I guess, because they were done in about five hours. Have to admit, I am quite impressed with one of the guys that Rev sent to do this work. He was just so neat about everything, and cleaned up his mess, and didn't leave his lunch trash. [Yeah. The same guy that I yelled at for putting smoother than glass tiles down on the perilously dangerous steps.] So it was him - don't know his name, and our regular pool guy, and another man I don't think I've ever seen before. They worked hard. Got the job done. Cleaned up and then sat. Waiting. Waiting for Rev to come and pick them up. They sat for a good hour - if not longer - before finally one of them asked me to please call a cab for them. You poor guys. Not enough that you are here working on what is supposed to be your ONE day a week off - Friday - but now, Rev isn't around [wouldn't answer either of his cell phones] to come and pick you up. Exactly, how, Rev, did you think these guys were going to get home? That I was going to pile them in our truck and take them to Khobar, myself? Since I'm not allowed to drive outside our compound walls, that isn't likely... And, you know damn well DH golfs on Friday and that he is not available to take them to Khobar, either. How thoughtful, kind and considerate of you, Rev. Leave 'em all stranded here. I happily called a cab for them - and was about to pay for it, too, and then came to my senses. It isn't because I wanted for the three poor [in a literal sense] workers to have to pay for it - but I think it is Rev's responsibility and if I would have paid for it then Rev would be able to absolve himself. So I didn't.
Anyway... Rev was here a couple of days ago to inspect the work. Must have been Saturday morning. He doesn't have a key to the gate so he calls me when he wants to be let in. Never any warning - I can be in the middle of something, doesn't matter what - and he calls and says, "I am here, Madam. You will need to open the gate." If it was just once in a while I wouldn't mind. It is often. Too often. And that he doesn't give me any warning just pisses me off. The man has already surpassed his quota of "patience" with me. So, I quickly make myself presentable [involved getting out of my p.j.'s] and go open the gate. "Yes, Madam. We bring the light tomorrow." "What time tomorrow, Rev?" "Yeah, yeah, yeah." Whoa! He didn't. But he did. I lost it. "Rev, do NOT, under any circumstance say 'yeah, yeah, yeah' to me ever again. Do you understand? Yeah, yeah, yeah is not an answer - you say that to everything I ask you or tell you and you think that you can play like you don't understand what I am saying when you know exactly what I am saying and it is your way of not having to answer a question. "What time will you be here tomorrow?" "In the morning." "What time in the morning?" "I will call you." "No, Rev. I want to know what time you are going to be here. I have things to do and I have no intention of sitting around waiting for you to call when you say you are going to call and then you don't call. What time?" "Around nine o'clock, Madam." "Fine."
We did have things to do. We waited until nine-thirty. Rev didn't call. I know. Shocking. DH and I left. We went downtown. Needed to go to the gas store [LP gas for the grill], and to the glasses store to drop his sunglasses off to be repaired. We've been going to the same place for glasses for a while, now. Couple of years. There is a really, really upscale looking store next to the glasses store that has lovely window displays of clothing for men and women. I decided to wander in. Can't believe I've not been in there before. Pricey. Very pricey. But nice. Big, airy shop, two stories - elegant marble stairs going up - with antique chairs and chaises and big mirrors [for what? there are no dressing rooms!]. Mr. Manager, who was Saudi, had an attitude about him - snooty. I said good morning, and he turned his nose up and didn't even bother acknowledging me. Although, in all likelihood probably it had to do with my attire and demeanor, in that I am sure at the moment I did not look like the sort of woman who would wear such high-end fashion couture when I walked in [and if he guessed that - he would be correct - I don't wear that kind of thing]. No make up, hair - not done - sunglasses holding it in place like a headband [had them on top of my head], abeya that looks as though it has never seen a lint brush [it hasn't] or a washer [never!], old white sneakers on. Do I blame him? No. But, then if that is the way he is going to judge me on the basis that I am not all coifed and dressed to the nines, why would I want to shop there? I looked through some of the ladies things - a shop that actually had some "normal" clothing - although it was also full of the foo-foo stuff with glittery adornment and lace and ruffles and things that I wouldn't be caught dead in. SR500 for a pair of brown capri's - sale price - is way, way, way more than I am willing to pay, though.
I went upstairs to see what they had for men. Jackpot! A store that carries XLT!!! The first one I've come across the entire time we've lived here. DH had no idea that we'd end up buying him a car-length black leather coat yesterday morning when we went off to do errands. Very, very nice. It was 50% off - but the man working [Lebanese or Egyptian, maybe?] said, "Speeshell prize to you. The first time I ever geeve theese discounts. Seeksdee-fife bacent discounts." We, apparently, are very, very fortunate customers. I'm pretty sure he has never given a "seeksdee-fife bacent discounts" to anyone else. [Sarcasm, off.] We didn't have enough cash and I didn't have my credit card - so we'll pick it up later this week when we go back downtown to get DH's glasses at the repair shop next door. It is the kind of shop where there is a tea/coffee boy who comes up to you with a silver tray to offer you a beverage. You are expected to have one or the other, you are expected to stay, to chat, and to shop. When DH went to take his denim jacket off to try the leather coat on, I went to grab his coat, and out of nowhere the tea/coffee boy [man, really, probably 30 years old] was there with a wooden hanger. We were the ONLY customers in the shop for the entire time we were there - a good thirty minutes. As we left the snooty Saudi that snubbed me when I first went in tripped over himself and raced us to the door to open it for us. "Have a pleasant day." Yeah. I'd think his opinion of me might just have changed a little bit. Seeing as how we just bought one of his [ridiculously over-priced] leather jackets - but at least we got a "speeshell prize" and a "seeksdee-fife bacent discounts." For the very first time, ever, I can report a positive shopping experience. The first! Yes. I will go back to that shop for DH.
Then we continued. We had to go get those Cuban's that DH so likes, that I couldn't get for him for his birthday last week because I couldn't find them. The "other" grocery store just happens to be next to the awesome bread place. [Pictures are very necessary.] The outdoor kiosk that has the brick oven and makes the MOST delicious bread you have either ever smelled or tasted in your entire life. Is it clean and sanitary? Are you kidding? The place has never seen a can of Lysol for as long as it has been standing. Or a pail of hot sudsy water and a sponge, either. Are the men that work there dressed in white uniforms? Yes. But those uniforms have long been tan they are so stained. I am just hopeful that the temperature of the oven kills everything - it must - it is not the first time I've eaten the cheese bread from there, and I have yet to get sick. I am actually a bit surprised that I even ventured to try it one day - usually I avoid such not-necessarily-sterile atmospheres like the plague. I am incredibly fussy about "germs" and the like - you will never catch me without a package of anti-bacterial wipes and I wash my hands a gazillion times a day... Oh my gosh. It is soooo good! The smell alone will drive you crazy. You salivate at the mere aroma. Yum yum yum!
Anyway, we finally get home and of course DH can't be happy with just cheese bread for
Inam is always underfoot. DH accuses him of following him around. If DH is sitting on the couch reading the paper, that is the exact moment that the leather needs to be cleaned; if DH is in the study at the computer, then that is when Inam chooses to fetch the vacuum and run it around him. It is probably Inam's way of getting back at us for paying him to clean up after us. There are dozens of tasks to be done in the house - and only when they can be done to most inconvenience us are when Inam chooses which task to tackle or accomplish next. I will say this, though, he does an excellent job cleaning the bathrooms and the floors. Why we have to have the exact same discussions - well mostly it is me that "discusses," and Inam "listens" [but not very well!] - on such a regular basis bewilders me. If I didn't let you sweep when I was cooking last Thursday - what makes you think that it is okay to sweep while I am cooking today?!? When you get here in the morning - and no one is in the kitchen at seven o'clock - don't you think that that would be the most opportune time to sweep the floor? Never mind.
I started this post the day before yesterday - Sunday - it is Tuesday - it is almost one o'clock. Has Rev called? Has he brought the light? Has he picked up the tile? Of course not. DH has the day off and is playing golf. He can call Rev when he gets home and find out when the new light is going to be installed in the pool. Supposedly we were going to be able to start filling the pool on Thursday of this week. But, the grout is going to have to dry around the light, which has yet to be delivered or intalled... The pool, sitting empty, is a death trap. As concerned as I am about one of The Kid's falling into the pool when there is water in it - I am more concerned about one of them falling while it is empty. Since The Boy has to be on a leash - until the toe is completely healed - he cannot be running on the patio tile and scraping it - and opening it up - I can control just how close to the edge he can get. The Baby on the other hand... I want the pool finished. It has been two months. DH told Rev that the pool had to be completed by the end of this month - Rev still has four more days... I've got things to do tomorrow and DH has to work. Because I've got plans, and DH won't be home, tomorrow is going to be the day that Rev will decide he needs to come to install the light and pick up the tile, and he'll call and then not show up. After all, why should tomorrow be any different?
This picture does not do the stair tile justice. You cannot tell how smooth and shiny and slippery it is. DH says that now that it is grouted, that is going to make a world of difference and keep me from slipping. Don't think so. Will look for those "bathtub safety strips" tomorrow.
Our pool is at least twenty years old - perhaps older - and installed when there was no such thing as a "building code." From the patio to the first step it is 22 - almost 23 - inches down - just less than a two foot step.
From the first step to the second is just over 16 inches.
It is more than two feet from the second step to the bottom of the pool. Quite a drop.
It would appear as though the pool was designed and then constructed and "whoops" maybe some steps should be put in - certainly an after thought and that is being generous. Not much thought put into having steps at all.