Friday, October 17, 2008

Zapped Energy, Robert's Rules and Driving

Note: I started this post a few days ago and then just got busy...

Very strange weather. It has been very humid the past four or five days. Yesterday morning's TWO walks totally zapped any energy I might have had right out of me. I've been walking The Kids one at a time. Since the "Mother-Fall" happened ten days ago, I have only walked them together once - and that was painful. My boo-boos have pretty much healed, thankfully. But man-oh-man, was I sore for the first three days or so, and my right shoulder still isn't quite back to normal. Pair a bad right knee with a weakened right arm due to an injured right shoulder - and it just is not conducive to walking with a leash in both hands - 120 pounds on the end of the leash in my left hand and 55 pounds on the end of the leash in my right hand. Nope. Not happening.

So I take The Baby first and we do a good long, brisk walk. The Baby is still young - she'll be three at the end of December. She has more energy than any four-legged Kid we have ever had. And, she also believes that yes, the world really does revolve around her. If I take The Boy first, then The Baby barks bloody murder until we return and DH can not sleep. DH is not a morning person. He does not get up at 4:30 or 5 like I do. So, best to take The Baby first. Then I take The Boy. What was an hour or so of my morning walking the two of them is now a good two hours of my morning walking them one at a time. I am not complaining. I can use the exercise, that's for sure. But because the past four or five days have been so humid out, by the time I am done walking both of them, I am exhausted! And I am soaking wet, too! Energy is totally, thoroughly zapped.

My volunteer group has started back up and that is two mornings a week. There are a lot of volunteer groups here, on our compound, that offer a variety of services or "fun." We have a badmitton club, a running club [of which I'll never be able to be part of due to my bad knee!], chess clubs, book clubs, outting clubs - that plan trips and go places all over the world, a yachting club, a wood-working club, a quilting club, and slews of wide-ranging others. The variety of "clubs" available to the residents on this compound is astounding; and we are all very fortunate to have so many of them, offering so many choices. I am a part of one and serve as the Secretary on the Board of Directors, as well as "volunteer" two mornings a week. These are not just a "club" where a few people said, "Hey, let's get together once a week and have fun." They are fully organized and recognized clubs, some with a couple hundred members. The club I am a part of is one of the large ones. And it is a whole lot more work than I ever thought it would be when I signed up to volunteer a year or so ago.

I am so wanting to say, "Okay. I have had enough. I'm done." But will fulfill my duty as a Board Member until my term expires in December. Whether I continue to volunteer ONE morning a week after that remains to be seen. I do not mind the actual physical work that is involved - and there is actual physical, manual labor that is done. I do not mind the one morning a week three-hour shift I have running the shop for the service our club provides. I do not like the "organizational" aspect of it and not because I don't like the organization or organizing... That is the part where the "politics" of the group become overwhelming to me. Not "politics" in the "political - Republican versus Democrat" sense, but the "politics" of who likes who and who wants to do things this way or who shouldn't be allowed to do something. I don't have time for that kind of crap. Has there every been a club or group, run by a bunch of women [and we are not a women only gender specific group - men are certainly allowed and encouraged to join - they don't because they are working - so it is the wives of all the men working that are involved in the group that I am a part of], anywhere that doesn't end up being political? Oh my gosh. Enough is enough. Does it really matter what color pants Jane wore last week?!? No. IT DOESN'T!!! That kind of thing. My personality does not adapt well to such catty, trivial bullshit. Which is why I am not enjoying being a Board member. I want out of that part of this group. And I will never, ever let myself be involved in that regard, again. [In fairness to me, I was nominated for the position while I was home in the States and didn't even know I was a part of the Board until I saw it in a newsletter! Is that even allowed in Robert's Rules?]

Really, I would so much rather be taking trips back and forth downtown to the paint and fabric stores. All those decorating books I checked out of the library last week? As I was flipping through them, mumbling and grumbling about all the pictures being cut out and missing, I came across a paint sample strip wedged in one of the books that I do believe is the perfect color for our kitchen, the hallway, the study and DH's bathroom. But I can't get down to the paint store this week, now, until Thursday because I have responsibilities to my volunteer group. Sure I could go this afternoon - but am I going to be told, "No. I will not mix this paint for you. You must return in the evening." Isn't it enough I vowed never to go back to Jotun's for that very reason, and have now been there twice since then? I want to do that to myself again - get caught being there in the late afternoon when the shop's [imported] workers are at dinner - leaving only the shop's manager in the shop who either has no clue how to mix paint samples or who does not believe that he should have to do anything as laborious as opening a quart of white paint and adding two or three or four drops of color to it? No. I think not. Paint waits until Sunday. Saturday I am going to find the fabric for the new window treatments with my decorator. If I get the chance - I'll get the paint - but I think we are going to Damman and the paint store is in Khobar. Yes. There is a Jotun's in Damman, as well, so that may work out...

If, for one single solitary second, you think that it is not frustrating sometimes being a woman, here in the Sandbox, where you can't just jump in your car and drive to the paint store, you would be very wrong. Not only can you not just jump in your car and drive yourself anywhere, but you also must time all of your shopping and errands to coincide with prayer timings and shop closings. You have a couple of hours in the morning from when shops open until they close at 11:30 for prayer - earlier, even. Most shops do not open again, after prayer. Oh, no, that would be too easy. They open at three or four in the afternoon. Then they close again at five or five-thirty for prayer, again. It is a wonder than anything at all gets done, here. Royal pain in the ass is what is it. You'd think that after almost six years I would be used to this. And, it is not that I am not used to it, it is just that I do not have the patience to say, "Oh well. I guess I'll do that another day." We are all fighting for the same driver's availability - the driver's are limited - there are not enough to go around. We all have things we want to do that require leaving the compound to take care of. If you are a "local" you are allowed to recruit your own driver. If you are not a "local," then you are not. Fair? No. Not in the least. Who made that rule and determined that women from other countries are not allowed to recruit their own driver's?!? We are allowed to recruit houseboys, but for some asinine and inane reason we are not allowed to recruit drivers, even though we are no more allowed to drive than "local" women. We are also not allowed to recruit maids. Just houseboys. Why this is? I have absolutely no idea. Just thinking about this makes my blood boil!

But then, no one ever said life was going to be fair. The mentality of the "powers that be" that impose such restrictions and guidelines over who can and can't do certain things does have to make one wonder though. It will all provide plenty of fodder for the book I will write when I leave the Sandbox. Only then will I be able to fully and freely express my thoughts without fear of reprisal.


  1. so is hiring a driver, a bit like hiring a cab? How much do they charge you, is it per hour or per trip?


  2. Pretty much the same thing, Gill. We have a company that is pretty much exclusive for use by those on our compound. The cost isn't much [although to some you'd think it was!] - it is 43 riyals round-trip downtown for one hour [$11.52] and then 30 riyals an hour thereafter [$8.00]. They drop you off at the door of whatever shop you want to go to, they park, they carry your packages, they unload your packages once you get home. They are excellent drivers! And, they know all the ins and outs and side streets to get where you need to go. I tip them - and tip them well - but there are many who, unfortunately, do not.

  3. I am sorry to laugh, but I am. You know why? Everytime I go to the freaking Jotun man and he mixes up my paint I think of you!

    I never let my paint guy tell me to come back later. No siree. I stand there for the 10 minutes it takes to do whatever with the pigments, then have it shook up and then smile when the guy loads it up into my car.

    Poor you, Sabra. For real. And the keeping up with the 'expat wives' thing is way over my head. I'm such a hick.

  4. It wasn't an option, L_O. The "dude" wasn't mixing my paint. I suspect it had to do with the fact that it required actual work - but more that he didn't know how and couldn't admit it. "Yes my job is to run a paint store, but I do not know anything about paint or how to use the equipment. I can only open the cash drawer, play with my mobile, and chat with my friends. I would appreciate it if you would not ask me to let actual 'work' interfere with my life."

    You are not the only one who cannot keep up with the expat wives, L_O. I don't even try! I did the volunteer thing to force myself to get out of my house once in a while and ended up biting off more than I wanted to chew...


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