Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Sun Fries Their Brains

It must. No other possible excuse. The gardener - who does a really, really good job keeping the yard looking nice and planting flowers - gets the Fried Brain award for April. He ran over my pool float with the lawn mower! He did what? Yes. He mowed my pool float. This one [scroll down to the very bottom]. It is beyond repair. A little puncture I could have fixed. I cannot, however, fix a float that has chopped up little pieces. What the he11 were you thinking?!? I want to beat him. [I am so beginning to see what it is that causes people, here, to want to pummel their "domestic" help with their fists or beat them with a shovel or a broom.]

My float usually rests against one of the chaise's outside when it isn't in the pool. It is done for. It has been mowed over. You idiot! How could you MOW over a float?!? You could not see that it was in your way and that you were going to have to bend down and pick it up and move it before you mowed right there?!? Do you think I am going to be able to repair it, now? And do you think I am even going to find one over here like that?!? No. My mother got it for me in the States and I brought it back a year or so ago to use here. The best we can find for floats is one of the blow-up ones that punctures if you accidentally grab it too hard with your fingernails. I've contacted two different companies to see if I can get a new float shipped over here and neither of them ship internationally. All I am going to be able to do is order one, have it shipped to my Mom's, and then have her ship it over for me and hope that I get it and that someone in custom's doesn't decide they'd like it and keep it for themselves. [Because THAT happens.]

Yesterday I asked DH what happened to the small barrel we used to have - it was a trash can - it had a cover - and I need it. I think, for some time I used it when we lived in the townhouse to keep dirt mixed in it - for planting houseplants, etc. DH said that the dirt got used, here at the house, when we planted the fig tree and that he had rinsed the barrel out with the hose and left it outside to dry and that the gardener ran into it with the mower. WHAT? Another mower mishap? You're kidding, right? I asked how - and it was a rhetorical question - Appuk could have ran over a barrel and DH responded, "I think the sun fries their brains." DH is on to something... Perhaps I should take Appuk's mowing privileges away from him - but I can't. [Who would mow the yard? And why am I paying to have a gardener if he doesn't mow the yard???] He's mowed my float, mowed a barrel [I'm still shaking my head - how do you mow over either a float or a barrel!?!] and he has mowed into my lime tree on a dozen different occasions even though he has been specifically told NOT to go near it with the mower.

Instead of beating him with a shovel - which is what I would like to do - in hopes that I'd be beating some sense into him - I am going to buy him a hat. Try to keep the sun from frying his brains. And if he runs over anything else, the replacement cost will be taken out of his pay. Pay - money - that is all these guys actually understand. We've got Inom vacuuming up shirts and Appuk mowing a pool float, a barrel and my little lime tree. Nope. Done putting up with stupidity and "fried brains." You ruin it? You pay for it! That will get their attention.

Thanks So Much, Google!

Still getting mega searches for something on my site that isn't there. Thanks to Google. I'm number one on their list for it. All but a few of the searchers are from Turkey. What does that say about Turkey? Hmmm. Guess I have my own opinion about that. No matter. If I pull up my statistics the number one spot that leads visitors to my site via a referral page is for p0rn0tv.

They don't find what they are looking for, so they don't stick around, which is fine, but it is still odd. Google has me at the top of their search page so no wonder I'm getting the hits.

No doubt it is all a conspiracy theory and Google hates me because I have been so unsupportive of their left-wing agenda. How they could have guessed that - as I've not made any mention of it ever - is beyond me, though.

8-Year-Old Gets Divorced. Finally.

The ordeal nightmare for the little eight-year-old Onaiza girl is finally over. Wasn't actually the court which intervened and allowed this child a divorce from her pedophile husband, though. The "arranged marriage" of the child "to a 50-year-old man, who has two other wives, has been annulled in an out-of-court-settlement." A new judge mediated the settlement which "was not without lengthy negotiations between the girl's lawyer and the husband who clung on to the legality of the marriage... when he finally agreed to divorce the child wife." [Yeah. You were looking forward to this marriage, weren't you, you pervert!] Of course the 50-year-old man is not named because no one here would want to cause him any embarrassment, right? He needs to feel deep and utter shame, if you ask me. Oh. And so should this child's father who married her off to a friend to settle a debt of his. Kudos for the little girl's mother who has been fighting for her child since the ordeal began. Hopefully the child has not been damaged, psychologically, to badly from this debacle, and will go on to lead a healthy and normal life, continuing to play with dolls and doing whatever it is that normal little eight-year-old girls do which is NOT get married to a man who is FORTY-TWO YEARS OLDER THAN HER!

Another woman's nightmare is reported here. The culprits - six men in the age range of twenty to thirty - will likely never be punished - for gang-raping a Filipina woman who was abducted off the street - in front of her friend who notified the woman's husband who in turn notified the police. [Why didn't you call the police on your mobile and give them the plate number of the vehicle? If you don't have a mobile - the friend - you are the ONLY one in The Sandbox without one.] "Speaking to the police, the woman described her abductors as in their twenties and thirties... Some members of the gang had addressed each other by name..." Well that will narrow it down substantially, right? With half of the men in this country being named Mohammed and a third of them being named Abdullah, the police should have the case solved lickity-split. Good luck with that.

PCRC. Eight killed. Different accidents.

"Time is right for a smoking ban." Um-hmm. Let us know how that is going to work out. You can't do anything to control the driving situation, here [which by the way, gets worse every single day!], and you are going to try to enforce a smoking ban? In a country where a "no smoking" sign means "light-up, here?" The Middle East is probably the only smoker-friendly left area in the entire world. I don't disagree with what you are trying to do - and I am a smoker. But I think banning smoking in public is going to be close to impossible.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

FUBO on the Tahoe - Honoring 100 Days

Updated: See bottom of this post.

In celebration of the first hundred days...

Pretty sure that we have the only truck in Saudi with a sticker that says, "FUBO." [FUBO? What does that mean? Fat, useless b!tch on-board. Fairies use better oxygen. Fair unbiased balanced opinion. Fan 'ur body odor. Gee. I don't know. Could mean a lot of things, I guess. FUBO.] One-Big-Assed-Mistake-America...

A gift from DS in Wisconsin. Thanks, DS!

To further celebrate the first 100 days with "teh one" being heralded as some sort of - something - something that he is NOT... I give you the best depiction anywhere on the interwebs that can be seen here [warning: NOT safe for work!].

From that same site, I swiped borrowed this:

Got the best laugh I've had in the last twelve hours there, as well. The-Quicker-Fucker-Upper. I am going to smile all day long with that one. Thanks, Vilmar!

Update: There are others out there that have great posts up about TQFU's first 100 days. Go here for a fabulous list of 100 disappointments and screw-ups. Go here to listen to Rush rattle off the top of his head a list of things TQFU has FUBAR'd - and also see a fantasy almost come true of Rush Limbaugh as President and Ann Coulter as Vice President talking about their first 100 days in office. A good, but lenghty, analysis is here [JammieWearingFool posted it]. I'll continue to add other sites when I come across those that I think are worthy of mentioning.

Bored With The News

No. Not bored. Frustrated. Still angry over the whole pork and swine flu thing and at how a government is orchestrating pandemonium. [Yet, still no anger from the masses out there about how we've got someone sitting in our highest possible office who will not even produce a birth certificate to prove he is allowed to be there.]

Had no idea there were "rumors" of women driving in The Sandbox. Face it, ladies. It is NOT going to happen. It is all about control. And men, here, are not going to give in and give that up. No doubt it has a lot to do with money, as well. If women could drive then all those drivers from other countries wouldn't be necessary. The companies that bring the foreign workers - drivers - in would see a drop in revenue. Women driving? Not gonna happen. "The head of the Traffic Administration... has denied rumors that a number of women have taken to driving cars in the streets of the city, saying patrols have not recorded a single instance of such a traffic violation." Apparently there were "numerous eyewitnesses" who claimed to have seen Saudi and foreign women driving. One official said, "On an average we register some 11,000 traffic violations per day in Jeddah, but we have not recorded a single one concerning women driving for the whole of the month." 11,000 traffic violations per day in one city, and you still, somehow, cannot get the PCRC under control?

Heh. Funny. File this one in the "Only in Saudi Arabia" file. A man entered a contest at a mall and was asked whether he would accept another wife - he said yes. [Buzzer sound!] Wrong answer. Well, it was the right answer to win whatever prize he won, but not the right answer as far as his wife was concerned. His wife asked him for a divorce. Dumbass. "However, some pious and kind people intervened and reconciled" them. Oh goody. A happy ending. Snort.

There's probably more. Here's a link to Arab News and a link to Saudi Gazette. Just not into it today. Going to go turn Fox News on so that I can seethe over what is going on in the States and mutter my disgust under my breath and hope for something awesome to happen that will turn things around there. And, by awesome, I mean... Oh, never mind...

Ban on Pork

It is going to happen. There will be no pork in Bahrain. This article was in yesterday's paper.

"Pork consumption is forbidden in Islam." Yeah, well so is alcohol, and I don't see that being banned. Why? Money. Bahrain would lose a lot of money if it banned alcohol. The Causeway would be empty and Saudi AND Bahrain would both lose a lot of money. The restaurants and hotels in Bahrain would lose money. It all comes down to money and it has nothing to do with what is allowed or forbidden. But, now, with the outbreak of a flu from pork products from Mexico, the rest of the world is frantic. And, doesn't anyone think that perhaps this has more to do with politics than anything else? I think so.

Something about Mexico's corrupt government collapsing. I fail to see how that needs to be the United State's problem. Close the borders. Put a big wall up. Half the drug problem would be solved if the United States would quit being such a wimp and actually take measures to keep ALL illegals out. Quit letting them have any services - no welfare, no hospital care, no education. Other countries do it. The United States could too, but it won't. Whatever. It has nothing to do with swine flu. It has to do with politics and government - which, in my humble opinion, is at an all time low.

Not that pork is a big deal. We can live without it. But bacon is just one of those little pleasures that we have over here that is nice to have occasionally. Not at the risk of either a two month jail term or a fine of 3000 SR, though [$804.29].

"Sheikh Adel Al-Moawada, who also heads Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defense and National Security Committee, said the decision, if implemented, would be in line with religious thoughts and would promote a healthy atmosphere." But alcohol doesn't seem to need to be included. Just admit it. That it all comes down to money.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This is not good news...

This whole swine flu ordeal. As if getting pork into The Sandbox didn't already pose problems, this is going to make it close to impossible. Thanks, USA, for NOT sealing your borders and letting anyone in - including those infected - so that this has to take front and center place in world news. [Although, personally, I think the news it is creating is just a cover-up in Washington to deflect from what are REAL and SERIOUS issues that no one seems to want to tackle. You know, things like Nancy's sudden case of botox induced amnesia. Stuff like that.] Today's paper says, "No swine flu cases found in Kingdom." No? Really!

DH flew with a Saudi last night who said to him, "You should not bring any pork back if you go to Bahrain." DH just chuckled. His co-pilot said, "They will be searching all Americans for this problem." Ahh, we - the American's that are here, right now - don't have swine flu, and most of us know you have to cook pork thoroughly. But thank you very much for the friendly advice. Really he was just being nice and giving DH what he thought was probably an incredibly profound "heads up."

Goes without saying that we won't be bringing pork through customs anytime in the near future. So much for BLT's and broccoli salad with bacon...

Bumbling Bufoon

Has there ever been a White House Press Secretary that is as big of a bumbling buffoon as the one currently installed? I don't think so. Certainly not for as long as I can remember. By comparison, Porky Pig sounds eloquent. But, then, I don't have a high regard for any of JEJA's* appointments so far. Understatement. That. "High regard?" How about NO regard?

In news yesterday - I saw it on Fox this morning - the Treasury Department needs to borrow $361 billion dollars to keep the federal government afloat for April through June. Hey. JEJA. How about you make all of your appointees with tax issues pay their due? Oh, and you might want to get a few others, who we can't blame you for [Charlie Rangel comes to mind], to pay up, too.

*jug-eared jack-ass

The First Hibiscus

The Kids, DH and I take our daily jaunt through our compound and every day I say, "Look at those hibiscus! How come all of the other bushes are in full bloom and we haven't even got buds?" Yesterday I saw that we did, in fact, have ONE flower. Isn't it pretty?

Are these flowers I would plant anywhere else? No. I don't think so. I'm not a "red" person - especially this color red - but the blooms are so brilliant in the sea of tan and gray, here, that you can't help but notice them. The bushes along the walk have buds, so we'll have more flowers soon. I will not let Appuk trim them until they are done flowering - if he had his way - there would be nothing but some green leaves cut in a nice neat rectangular shape.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Setting the Record Straight

Making the rounds through the interwebs is this story about a flight attendant, Lisa Ashton, who has been fired from her job at BMI for refusing to wear an abeya and walk behind her male co-workers which is also known as going to Saudi Arabia. Heh. Welcome to my world.

Ms. Ashton "was told that in public areas in Saudi Arabia she was required to wear a black robe... an abaya... She was told to follow her male colleagues, irrespective of rank." The flight attendant "was worried about security in the country, refused to fly there, claiming the instructions were discriminatory." Oh yeah, they were. She said, "It's not the law that you have to walk behind men in Saudi Arabia, or that you have to wear an abaya, and I'm not going to be treated like a second-class citizen." Good for you, Ms. Ashton.

Let me set the record straight for you: You do not have to walk behind men, here. I don't know when that rule applied [the dark ages? oh, wait...] or when it was changed, but that is not required. The abeya, on the other hand, while not "required" is required. You don't want to leave your home without one. Unless you are looking for a run-in with the local religious police. If that is the case, then by all means, go out sans an abeya. You are sure to create a bit of a stir. You can, however, be fairly certain that they won't whip your ankles with their sticks. That - the punishment of having your ankles whipped - for the most part, is meted out only to Arab women.

Last week - a former neighbor of ours - she lived next to us when we lived in the townhouse - went to Rashid Mall where she was admonished by a member of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, known as the Religious Police, for not covering her hair. Terry stuck up for herself and brazenly told the man that she was a Western woman and that she was not required to cover her hair and walked away from him. Seconds later she witnessed a Saudi woman get her ankles whacked for not covering her hair. They're out there in full force, these men, protecting the masses from having to see a woman's hair. I know. It sounds ridiculous. But such is life, here, in The Sandbox.

Back to the abeya. Umm. Yeah. It is not required, but it is. "Saudi experts and companies that recruit women to work in the country say it is a 'myth' that western women are required to walk behind men. There is no requirement for them to wear the abaya in public..." Oh, really? Then why was I chased through Rashid Mall for not wearing one? I was dressed conservatively - jeans, tee-shirt, long blue "work" shirt over everything which covered me, and gave me the same shape as SpongBob SquarePants. There may be no law that says Western women have to wear one - but most of us do.

The garment does have its advantages. You can go out dressed in bike shorts and a tank top, or your underwear if you want, and no one will know that you're not dressed, unless of course, you are standing in front of a light or in the sun - and then someone could maybe see that you're not dressed. There are abeyas that are fairly light-weight cotton - mine is - but many of them are heavy polyester and you cannot see through that fabric.

Imagine if this matter were reversed. If BMI fired a Muslim woman for not taking off her head-scarf... A lawsuit would ensue immediately. And BMI would have to pay that woman a gazillion dollars. The reverse, though? Nope. Lisa Ashton lost the battle. Ms. Ashton has gone on to bigger and better things. She is a singer in the band, Looby.

Beating the Household Help

Had a really odd dream the other night. Not really a dream, though. Well, kinda sorta, I guess. If you're asleep and "thinking" then it is a dream, right?

Anyway, it was after Inam / Inom dumped the dirty pail of water - from washing the living room floor - into the sink which had dis
hes in it and my dish scrubbie. I "dreamed" that I raised my hand to him - as if to hit him - or maybe in my dream I did actually hit him. It isn't really clear. Subconsciously, does this mean that I want to hit him? No matter. What happened though is that either I raised my hand as if to strike him - or I did strike him - like I said, not really clear on that, and what happened afterward is that he raised his hand as if he was going to hit me back. Like that wouldn't be the biggest mistake he ever made in his life. Yep. And then I woke up.

First of all, let me say that I totally totally am against physical "discipline." Or physical - whatever you want to call it. I hope that I will never, ever so much as do more than raise my voice to my domestic help. And even then - when I do - it isn't nearly like I could raise my voice [ask my Son - when he was a teenager, my voice was "raised"]. I can count, with less than the fingers on one hand the number of times that I actually used physical "discipline" on him - my Son - with a swat across the butt after all other avenues had been exhausted - when he was a young child. Time outs? Yes. Many. Grounding when he got older? Oh, yeah. Taking "privileges" away? Um-hmm. One of those Mom's. And, even with my two Kids, now, do I raise my hand to them? The Boy? Never. I will admit to having given The Baby an occasional swat across her little butt with an open palm - hard? No. Enough to get her attention when telling her "no" fails. Again, I can count on one hand the number of times it has happened. And, I can also tell you on the three or four times it has happened there has been a "kitteh" involved. Her nemesis.

Back to Inam / Inom. So, in the dream
I either raised my hand to slap him, or I actually did slap him. And he, in turn, raised his hand to me. I remember telling DH the next morning that I had had the dream and ended with saying, "I can tell you right now, that if he ever did raise his hand to me it would be the last thing he would ever do here." No. I am NOT going to hit him. But I am beginning to understand why it is that others resort to physical abuse with their domestic help. Inam pulled another bonehead move yesterday... It was classic. DH is not pleased. Nope. Not at all. Can't say that I blame him.

His favorite golf shirt. Sucked up in the vacuum. I can probably get it clean - but I won't be able to get the "snags" out of it.

So, let me get this straight. You were vacuuming the closet - like you always do - and tried to run it UNDER the clothes rack - even though you CAN clearly see that some of the shirts touch the floor - and you didn't for one second with just one of your brain cells think that you might have a problem?

You knocked the shirt off the hanger, it fell to the floor, and you kept vacuuming? What the heck IS wrong with you?!? Do you ever think? EVER!!? No. You don't. Are you even capable of thinking? I'm beginning to believe he is not. It probably isn't all his fault. But his clear lack of ability to fire up a half of a brain cell is precisely one of the reasons he got fired when he worked for me before - well, that and the fact that he is slower than a damn snail, but I was paying him on an hourly basis instead of on a salary basis - so that was my fault - of course it is going to take you an hour to wipe down the kitchen counter when someone is being paid by the hour. Duh! He isn't a whole lot "quicker" now that he is being paid a salary - but that isn't my fault. He could be making $3.00 and hour instead of $2.00 if he would just pick up the pace. Somehow I don't think that picking up the pace is going to effect in any way, shape or form whether or not he is using your head and THINKING while working. Truly some people cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. Someone in comments suggested the other day that while in the womb his mother was unable to give him the prenatal vitamins and nourishment that he needed. I am inclined to think that she is spot on in her assessment. But, again, not my fault. Perhaps instead of giving aid in the form of dollars to these third world countries - where it falls into the hands of their corrupt authorities and officials - we should instead just provide them with various forms of birth control. It would be the best thing we could do for them and go a long way in solving their problems and wiping out poverty and hunger and all that crap.

This morning Inam / Inom and I had words. Well, that's
not quite what happened. It wasn't a "we" had words. I had words. I pointed the shirt out to him - the hangers - the way the shirts, many of them, go almost to the floor and told him that if he had knocked a shirt off a hanger that he should have TURNED THE VACUUM OFF and then hung up the shirt before continuing to vacuum. I said, "Do not ever vacuum the closets again. Not this one [DH's] and not mine. You don't think. You need to start trying to use your brain." What he heard: blah, blah, blah, blah. Idiot. The man is an idiot. And in that regard I do feel sorry for him.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Any Sympathy for My Sunburn Out There?

Yeah. Probably not, huh. I "worked" for almost five hours today. Been out there since about eleven o'clock. Did not put nearly the cream on my shoulders or back that I should have - and was actually IN the water!

Today was our first 100 degree day, outside. Summer IS here! Pool temperature is 82 degrees. Ahhh. It was lovely.

Oh, and last evening for the second time in her entire life, The Baby got her own tennis ball out of the pool without any help from her Big Brother. Now it is a game. How quickly can she retrieve it? I throw it - she waits until the ball gets to the edge of the water - and snaps it out of the big water bowl in the ground. She'll be jumping in after it, in no time. That's my plan. Teach her that she CAN swim and how much fun the pool and a tennis ball can be. Be assured photos will follow.

In the meantime, my shoulders and back are a little pink. No. They are not a little pink. They are a lot pink! I should have known, but just didn't think I was going to be out for so long... Oncologists need jobs too. Especially in this economy.

Any sympathy? No? None??? I didn't think I'd get very much, here. Another beautiful day in The Sandbox. Forecast for tomorrow? Same as today... Life IS good!

Just another Dad, Luvin' on his Daughter

Yeah. I don't get it. But, then, I never will, either. How many father's rape their daughters? What are the statistics for this? Not just here, in The Sandbox, but all over. Sick. No matter how you look at it. A man has been "detained" while police investigate a "woman's allegation that her husband repeatedly raped their 21-year-old daughter at their home." Wait a second. Your daughter has been REPEATEDLY RAPED and you are just now calling the police? What the heck is wrong with you!?! You are almost as guilty for this crime as your perverted husband is, for goodness sake, if you knew it was happening and allowed it to continue. And, why is a 21-year-old not alerting someone to this? Has she been kept in a locked room for the last half of her life? Never mind. That is certainly plausible...

Kudos for the try, but, obviously, you're doing it wrong. "A 15-year-old girl shot herself in the head using her father's pistol at her parents' house." She is in the hospital in intensive care. Something is terribly amiss for this young lady. Ya' think? I hope that she recovers and is able to come to terms with whatever it is that was "bothering" her.

"I want to drive because there is no reason why I can't." Well, yeah. There is a reason. That reason is "control." Good luck on that.

Ahh. Yeah. There is a reason. The biggest one is control. That, and the fact that you are covered head-to-toe in black and it would be dangerous. Not just to you, but to everyone else on the road as well. Take off that veil so you can actually see before you get behind the wheel of a car. You might want to consider hiking that abeya up just a bit, too, so it doesn't get tangled in your feet and twisted around the gas and brake pedals. Just some friendly advice. Don't you know the statistics for PCRC, here? High. They are very high.

Have to commend the young woman for her tenacity, though. Even if she is being naive about the reason why women will never drive in The Sandbox. I just don't see it happening. At least not while I am here.

A 24-year-old woman studying in the U.S. [but, of course!], Areej, has launched a website / project called "N7nu - We the Women." [I have no clue what the N7nu is supposed to stand for. Perhaps if you want to be taken seriously, Areej, you should use real words and not teenage text-speak.] The article says, "A post-graduate thesis on women driving in the Kingdom has turned into a massive campaign..." Massive must be a "relative" term. Areej "was inspired to write a thesis on the subject, as her father, after retirement, would juggle his time in chaufferuring her, her mother and three sisters." She says her father did this "as he felt responsible for the women folk of his family and did not want to rely on drivers." That is a statement that can be interpreted in more than just one way. But, okay... She says, "I always felt guilty for few months that he used to drive me around. Driving four girls in one house is a hard task. We had drivers quitting after becoming fed up by the amount of places we needed driving to." [Sic.] Calling B.S. on that. Drivers come here as a way to make money for their families back home in other countries. Those drivers will drive you anywhere you want to go - and anytime. They quit because they are not being paid. For the sake of argument, we'll go with your version of why they quit, Areej.

The young woman's thesis was started a year ago and her website was launched as part of her project. The website "has gained its own momentum. It is a place where differing views from both men and women, Saudis and non-Saudis, are being expressed openly and freely." I went to her website. I must have missed something. There are seven comments - total - on the entire site - written by two people - one of them is Areej. She does have some videos - three of them - and as of my writing this, they have been viewed 409 times. I didn't watch the videos. They can be seen here.

Personally, I don't have a problem with women driving. I do not disagree with what Areej is trying to do and I wish her success in her campaign. I do, however, think that personal safety is going to be an issue. You want to drive? Fine. But you MUST remove your veil. You can leave your headscarf on. Heck, the majority of the men driving in this country are wearing head-coverings too. Is it a problem for them? Well, yeah, it is. For half of them. The half that wears their guthra down the side of their face so that it covers the area where they should have peripheral vision - and they don't. Picture it like blinders on a horse. Blinders are put on horses so that they cannot see what is coming up beside them - they can see only straight ahead. There. That is the problem. How many accidents are caused because of obstructed vision? Bet no one has ever given that any consideration and it likely will never be attributed to the cause; vehicle speed isn't much of a consideration, either, and rarely attributed to the cause. But we all know better.

"The issue or the idea of women not being able to drive in Saudi Arabia is something that people don't talk about, although it is a pretty big deal." Oh, really? It has been talked about and talked about and talked about - since we got here - and that was almost seven years ago. The proverbial dead horse has been beaten and beaten and beaten. Again, I am not disagreeing that women should be allowed to drive in this part of the world. Isn't this the ONLY country in the world where women can't drive? Areej says, "We have a very complicated culture." [Another statement that can be interpreted in more than one way. Ha. Understatement, that.] It is a culture of control, Areej. If women are going to be allowed to drive then the control that men have over women will be quashed. I think you and I both know that that is never going to happen.

Good luck with this Areej. Get back to us and let us know how it all works out. You are 24. You are on the right track and will, no doubt, go far with your education and personal goals. You just won't be driving yourself there - wherever it is that you go. Not if you are living in The Sandbox, you won't. [Visit Areej's site, "We the Women," here.]

Saturday, April 25, 2009

These are MINE!

Oh my gosh! Have you ever seen such beautiful shoes? They are going to go absolutely PERFECTLY with the bag I got for my birthday last year! If you think it is easy to match purple and purple all the time... It is not. I'm doing well, though, with three pairs of shoes to match. I also have this pair:
And, this pair:
Unfortunately I will not be able to wear any of them until September. They are waiting for me to get to go home and get them. I would have my Mom send them to me, but we already know that only half of what gets sent to me actually gets to me. Customs - or whoever - keeps the rest.

No doubt this is "tmi," but I have no problem matching my underwear to my pocketbook:

Your Lucky Underwear is Purple

Dreamy and idealistic, you envision great things for your life. Your lucky purple underwear can make those dreams come true!

You're a busy little butterfly. You have the most projects, interests, and friends of anyone you know.

You also have a flair for the dramatic. Sometimes too much drama comes in to your life and brings things to a stop.

If you want to focus more, and flutter less, put on your purple underpants. They'll help you get the important things done.

Found that at Love, Daisy. Her "lucky underwear" is also purple.

I used to have a little sign in my bathroom hung over the mirror [it was purple - the sign] that said, "Always wear your lucky underwear. Because no matter how badly things are going, they are only going to be worse if you have panty lines." Words of wisdom.

Off to search for a belt to match. Zappos has one - but I am not thrilled with it. Hopefully I can find one somewhere on the interwebs. And, then, outside to "work." Busy, busy day.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Best Time of the Year

For as much as I complain about my life here, there is much that I will miss when we finally leave The Sandbox and this is no longer home.

I am a person who needs sunshine. Here? I have it almost all of the time. Even in the winter months when it is cold [that is a relative term] it is still, for the most part, sunny with a blue sky nearly every day. About now, though, it starts getting light outside before five in the morning. In June, it will be light outside shortly after four in the morning. I am a morning person. I would much rather have the daylight earlier than late [actually, late would be good, too]. I believe I was one of those people, when we lived in the States, that had SAD [seasonal affective disorder]. I do not like the cold. I was born in upstate New York, outside of Buffalo. There, it is cold. Winter starts in October and ends in April. I lived in New Hampshire for many, many years. Winter starts in October and ends in March. Even North Carolina, which we consider to be "home," now, has a winter albeit not nearly as severe as an upstate New York or New England one. No thank you. I want sun. Blue skies. At least 90 degrees every day. Even warmer if there is no humidity.

It is a beautiful sunshiny day here in The Sandbox. The forecast is the same today as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow. These are the days I will miss. We have not reached our "summer" temperatures yet. It will be 115 degrees every single day of June, July and August. Some days will be even warmer hotter. I don't mind them. We have virtually no humidity so it is not the same in the heat, here, as it is in say North Carolina in August, which is close to unbearable because of the humidity - and where there are no good hair days - for the same reason.

Today, there is an article in one of our papers that says, "Summer is here!" It is melon season. I bought a melon on Wednesday - not a watermelon [there are no seedless watermelon's here - why?], but today, I figured out that it was a Juan Canary Melon. One of the sweetest, juiciest melons I can remember eating in a long time. I'll need to get another one, tomorrow. And a watermelon, too. Melon is going to be part of my new diet! I can eat a lot of it. It is fairly low in calories, and filling. Surely no physician would sanction a "melon and water" diet, but I am going to give it a try. No. Of course I'm not going to only eat melon and only drink water. For dinner tonight I am going to have a salad with crab meat and two glasses of grape juice [wink, wink].

Not too long after we had moved here, we were at a gathering and someone asked me where we would go for our first vacation. Everyone here seems to do a lot of traveling. It is part of the lifestyle [and another thing I will miss when we finally return to the States]. In answer to the question I said, "I don't know. Somewhere hot and sunny." Everyone laughed, and someone commented, "So, you're just going to go outside, right?" Ha ha. Funny. As it was our first vacation was to Italy. It was November. It was not hot or sunny [it rained almost the entire time we were there]. The weather. Here. That will be one of the things I miss the most. I know that we, as it stands for the time being, are planning on someday returning to North Carolina. I am starting to wonder if that is the right place. Arizona may be more our style insofar as weather and temperature goes. [Texas though, as far as our political leaning. If they were to actually secede? We're there! DH was born in Texas. Would not be difficult for him to go back.]

Anyway, it is finally time for me to start working again. I've only been working a little bit, part-time the past couple of weeks. Time to get out there and really work, though! The pool will be almost warm enough to float around in by the end of the month. [DH went in yesterday. I can't go in until it is about 82 degrees. It is only 76 degrees, right now. He said it was "refreshing." I bet it was!] If my blogging starts becoming somewhat lax. That is why. I'll be busy working. I've got a cruise that we're going on in a month or so, and I am going to need to be tanned. If I had a lap top that was wireless I could accomplish so much more, outside. We have a lap top - it is DH's - and I've never liked using it. And, for whatever reason, we aren't hooked up to be "wireless." That may need to be fixed in the coming weeks...

Enough of a work break. Time to head back to my chaise next to the pool.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Too Many Wives = Too Many Divorces

Hard to follow convoluted reports like this. Maybe it's just me. So a 12-year-old girl goes to visit her real mother - who her father had divorced sometime ago - and then the father goes to pick the little girl up and takes her over to her stepmother's house - who he had also divorced [if I'm reading the story correctly] - where the stepmother shaves off all of the girl's hair? What? Why? The stepmother says she had lice. The little girl takes her hair to her father and it is proven there is no lice. Ummm. Question: Why the heck was the little girl at the stepmother's house anyway, if the father had already divorced her some ten years ago? Shouldn't he be on to wife number three or eleven by now? Makes absolutely no sense. Maybe someone else can figure it out. Regardless. The stepmother has been sentenced to three months in jail, will be given 70 lashes [big freakin' deal] and will have to pay 3,000 riyals [$804.28] to her ex-husband. Huh? Shouldn't the little 12-year-old girl be getting something out of this, besides a bald head? A find example of how a father takes care of his little girl in The Sandbox. Yes, indeed! [For the unaware - father's get custody of children, here, not the mother, unless the child is very, very young.]

And another fine example of fatherhood, right here. The father of a little six-year-old girl has refused to take charge of her "following a decision by doctors that she should leave the mental hospital to which she has been interned and continue to receive treatment as an outpatient." How in the world does a little six-year-old girl end up requiring treatment from a "mental hospital?" What the heck did YOU do to her??? Am I the ONLY one who finds that beyond strange? Probably. The child, Maryam, cannot go home with her father because he "claims that his living conditions are not suitable for his daughter's care, saying that his house has no doors and that she could easily escape." Are you living in a tent? Supposedly Maryam was "a child enjoying perfect health until she was attacked by stray dogs while playing in front of her house. Now she is said ot have irrational fears and has become aggressive and can be dangerous to other children. Her father said he had to chain her up to stop her running away." Nope. Calling B.S. on this. Something is all terribly wrong with this story. I report. You decide. Oh, and no mention of the mother.

An African woman has been arrested for performing surgical repairs without the benefit of a valid medical license with which to do so. Perhaps if women were not compelled to be "virginal" at the time of their marriages then this woman's services would not have necessitated such demand and she never would have been able to charge such a high price! I'd be willing to speculate that this happens far more frequently than it is reported.

"In a new twist to the controversy surrounding child marriage in the Kingdom, eyebrows have been raised... at the marriage of a 15-year-old schoolboy to an older cousin." Hello? This is hardly controversy. An 8-year-old little girl being forced by her deadbeat father to marry a man that is 60 years old IS controversy. No matter. Calling B.S. on this, too. Boys' fathers don't typically arrange the marriage contracts; girls' fathers do. The teenage boy says, "My father forced me to marry my cousin two months ago. She's 16, a year older than me [why, she's practically an old maid, for goodness sake!]. Her father and mine agreed to a dowry of SR50,000, which will be paid in installments." Well good for you. 15, 16... Never too young, I guess. Time to start a family. The boy's father says, "I've arranged for my son and his wife a suitable home to live in... Marriage at this age is normal in our tribe and in these parts, the people here have been doing it for years and it hasn't caused any problems." Can you say genetically caused birth defects? What could possibly go wrong.

Out and About [Yesterday]

Also known as an hour in the day of...

Went to go do errands. Waited until pest control came to spray some humongous green caterpillars that are eating and killing my little lime tree. Appuk pointed them out to me a couple of days ago. They were the same color as the tree - bright green - and looked like a rolled up leaf - they blended so well you would never even notice them unless you were closely inspecting. I didn't take pictures. Should have. So, pest control got here right on time - five minutes early, actually - and when they left I knew I wanted to go to the post office and the commissary. Which, of course, meant getting dressed. Dressed in something other than bike shorts and a tank top - my standard uniform. Having already had the unique opportunity of being asked to leave the building that the post office is in for not dressing appropriately, I put a pair of yoga pants on and a sweatshirt. Hey. It was only 92 degrees out yesterday. Perfect sweatshirt weather, right? Off I went...

A week or so ago I ordered sixteen yards of pink poodle flannel from Fabric Paradise and it is here, already! How do I know it is here?
DH got an e-mail notice from his company that HE had a package waiting for him. [I am nobody, here. Everything is done under DH. Even my medical records are his medical reference identification number with an additional "-1" annexed. Just a woman. The mentality of that runs deep in The Sandbox.*] I had to go pick it up. The Baby needs new pillow covers and bumper pads for her crate. Oh my gosh. They are going to be soooo cute!!! So that was my first stop.

Miss Pretty was working at the post office when I got there. There were two men in line in front of me. I swear both of them kept coming up with more and more for her to have to do for them than was actually necessary just so that they could be in her company. Do I blame them? Heck no. Not only is she a beautiful young woman from the "outside" [that is, what can be seen of her], but she is incredibly sweet from the "inside." She has an absurd and totally heretofore unknown attitude [in this part of the world] way of actually, genuinely WANTING to help. "Yes. I can help you." "How are you today?" "You're most welcome." Stop it. Just stop it. You're NOT doing it right. [Oh, and by the way Miss Pretty - your figure is almost too perfect under that fairly revealing abeya. All of the women here are going to hate you. Is that what you want?]

Of course, as I was standing in line waiting my turn, as is par for the course, my olfactory senses had to be assaulted. There has got to be some spray out there that I can purchase on the internet or somewhere that I can whip out of my pocketbook and douse these women [and some men, too!] with. They are bound and determined that the ONLY smell that ANYONE should smell in a ten kilometer radius is them. Skunk piss would be better. I think. I've never actually smelled skunk piss but it cannot be nearly as awful as the skin, pore, hair and clothe permeating smell that some many women are wearing here. [Does anyone remember Georgio from the 80's? You could NOT walk into a mall in Florida without some young girl armed with a "tester" spraying that on you. This perfume / cologne - whatever it is - is much, much, much worse than Georgio ever was.] If it is the new "in thing" then I hope you are being robbed blind by buying it. It is not pleasant. You don't smell good. And, you really need to learn how to put it on with just a quick spritz. Truly your body odor - if that is what you are trying to hide - has got to smell better. And, because Miss Pretty was alone at the package counter there was no going to another open window for someone else to help the two men in front of me - or me - to avoid being accosted by Miss Stink. For the luv of Pete...

And speaking of... It is sandal season again. Doesn't EVERYONE know the rules of sandals? I guess it has never been published anywhere over here. The women? It is a fifty-fifty as far as those that have had a pedicure in the last month and those that have never had one. I have yet to see a man that has had one, here, and many of them really, really need to. Your dirty toenails are not pretty to look at. You are wearing sandals with your long white dresses and you need to do something about those feet. Even if you decide that a pedicure isn't for you, what is the thing about washing your feet five times a day? How could your feet be so nasty looking and your toenails carrying enough dirt [?] to start a small garden if you are washing your feet five times a day. Apparently you're not doing that right, either. I had plenty of time standing in a line - waiting - trying to hold my breath - while Miss Pretty was helping two other customers - what else are you going to do but "people watch?"

Off to the commissary. Needed only a few things. Bought more than what was on the list [but of course]. There were some melons there that were big and round and just the right "touch" and they smelled so good... Bought one. [It isn't a cantalope. Looks like one from the outside but on the inside it is more of a white / buttercup color than peachy. Oh my gosh. Absolutely one of the MOST delicious melons I've tasted in a long time.] Water and juice. Milk. Bread. There must have been an awful lot of complaints. Delta Bread is back on the shelf. Thank goodness. That other stuff was just terrible. And the juice - here - is something I will miss when we return to the States. Nada makes it. Kiwi-lime is my favorite. No doubt the stuff is loaded with sugar but it just tastes soooo good! We go through a lot of water and juice here. I make sure that each worker gets a water and a juice every day. They are welcome to more - but especially now that it is getting so warm outside - they have got to have water and I figure that the juice with a little extra sugar and calories can't hurt these guys - they are working hard. I load my cart with the water in cases, first. Balanced perfectly. Then some 30 little bottles of juice all in different flavors - Strawberry, Raspberry, Mango, Kiwi-lime, Mixed Fruit [also very very good - tastes like peach], Pineapple... Milk. Bread...

Go to check out. Get to a totally open check out counter. Lucky day. Hold up one juice and say "There are 30 of these." Some of the checkers just click in 30 @ 2 riyals each - total 60 riyals - and it gets bagged. This guy? Nope. Wants to scan each and every single one of them. Do you think I am trying to scam you and get extra juice? Why would I tell you I have 30 and then try to get away with 32? What if I made a mistake when I was loading them in my cart and I only had 28? I must look like the type that would try to "sneak" extra juice through. I will not believe that you need to scan each one for inventory - if that is the case, then why is it that most days I can just say "30 juices" and get it rung in as 30 juices? All depends on which clerk is manning the cash register. Whatever.

Anyway, I've got these two cases of water set in my cart - one in the cart and one on the bottom where that "rack" is just for cases of things like water or soda. Can this guy just punch in the numbers from his little cheat sheet like the rest of the clerks do? No. He calls another clerk over and asks her what water it is that I have. She says, "Evian. 24." I tell him it is the .50 litre size. She says, "24." Yes. That is correct. There are 24 bottles in the case of the .50 litre size. This causes a problem. He can't find "24" on his cheat sheet and I guess because he didn't believe me with the juice he has to see the carton containing the water in order to believe me that it is the .50 litre size [they DON'T make a "24" size, you jackass!]. So he comes around and then picks up the case and takes it to scan it. Talk about doing things the hard way. He puts that carton of water in my cart and then the young woman who is now bagging my things - the same one that told him I had "Evian '24'" - starts putting everything that is in the bags on top of the case of Evian. I also have a case of Al-Qassim Health Water which comes in .65 litre bottles - he has removed this from my cart and put it on the conveyor belt instead of just punching in the number like all the other clerks do. This case does NOT fit properly on the shelf that is at the bottom of my cart. Which, is precisely why I had the Evian on the shelf and the Al-Qassim in the cart. Rocket science. I should have known better than to try to push the cart as it was loaded after checking out. [Where oh where oh where are the two guys who usually push the carts and unload my groceries for me? Busy with others. Not their fault. Those two guys are hard working and I never ever see them get a day off.]

I am capable of pushing my own cart to the truck and unloading it. I did it for years in the States and have done it here, as well. I've just gotten spoiled about having it done for me. Should have waited for one of the guys. Or better, should have insisted on having the cart repacked before I left the store. Made it all the way to the parking lot with the cart loaded like it was when the case of Al-Qassim went off the front of the bottom of the cart - the box split open - and 24 .65 litre sized bottles of water when rolling everywhere. Under other cars, in front of cars driving through the parking lot. How could it possibly have hit with that much force that water bottles when rolling in every which direction? It isn't like I was racing through the parking lot to get to my truck at break neck speed or anything. To anyone who was there - in the parking lot - including all of the car washers [who all raced to rescue the rolling bottles of water for me - thank you very much!] - it had to be comical. 23 of 24 bottles were recovered. The 24th? "Road kill." Not the driver of the mini-van's fault. He had no idea that water bottles were going to be rolling on the pavement as he slowly turned the corner to park and drove right over it as it headed for his path. Doesn't matter. I knew the water should not have been put in the cart the way it was - the Evian HAS to be on the bottom and the Al-Qassim HAS to be in the cart. I will make whoever packs my cart in the future repack it if it ever happens again. Be sure of that.

The box is ripped, but salvageable. The groceries are now in the back of my truck, and box of Evian is there and the mangled box containing 23 .65 litre bottles of Al-Qassim is there. Part of me wanted to go back into the commissary to complain and get a new box of water - with all 24 bottles - the other part of me was just so frustrated that the male clerk didn't want to believe me about the juice and didn't want to believe me about the Evian being size .50 and not "24." To top things off with male clerk - he and I had to argue over my change. My total was 270.30 riyals. I handed him a 500 riyal bill. He wanted to give me back change of 229.70. The .70 is halalas. They are useless. I said, give me 230 back. He looked at me like I had three heads. I don't want .70 in halalas. Give me back an even riyal. We all know that that is how it works here. If my bill would have been 269.80 - he would have taken 270. You don't get .20 in halalas. You round up and you round down. Or, they'll give you a pack of gum that is worth even less than the halalas. So, between the juice, the water, and then the change, I just couldn't be bothered to go back and quibble over a .65 litre bottle of Al-Qassim water that costs less than a riyal [one riyal is equal to about thirty-seven cents in U.S. dollars]. By that time, I was hot - in my yoga pants and sweatshirt - and I was frustrated that I have to deal with crap like this when all I wanted to do was run up to the post office and run into the commissary. What should have been - tops - thirty minutes - was an hour. Is it any wonder I have so little patience sometimes???

*I'm pretty sure I've posted this before... The mentality of how women are regarded, which anyone who reads this blog occasionally has correctly figured out that their worth is of little value. Years ago when my DH was here as a contractor, before I was allowed to join him, he told me about an incident that had happened when his crew van was late picking him up for work one morning. DH is a pilot; he does not drive back and forth to the airport. He gets picked up in a "crew van," a Suburban, and then dropped off. Find an airline in the States that does that for its pilots! Anyway, the crew van was late picking him up one morning. When it finally got to his little apartment to pick him up the driver was apologizing for being late and said that there had been an accident and that traffic had backed up. DH said, "Oh. That's too bad. Was anyone hurt?" The crew van driver responded, "No. Just some womens."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pirate is a big Pansy. Plus, a Word Game!

[Scroll to end for the word game]

[Scroll to very end for a link to a good blog post on this somewhere else.]

Pansy. Not the word I wanted to use. My Dear Mother sometimes reads my blog and I know she would vehemently disapprove of my using the word I wanted to use.

You were such a big man when you and your co-horts had guns and other ammunition with which you decided to hijack a US ship. You were such a big man when you and your co-horts had a gun on Captain Phillips while a ransom was being negotiated. [Heh. How'd that work out for your co-horts, again? Thank you NAVY SEALS!!!]

Your mommy wants us to believe that you are just a brainwashed youngster who was "coaxed into piracy by 'gangsters with money.'" Yeah. Right. She wants to come to America to be here for you to change your diapers wipe your tears and the snot from your nose during your heart-tugging crying jags. [Ah. No. We need another thug in America like we need another tax!] You lied to authorities about your age on more than one occasion - so no one really knows hold old you are - sixteen, eighteen, twenty-something. You are NOT sixteen. And so what if you are. Your daddy says you were a good boy going to a respectable school
[snort!] when you left with the pirates. No sympathy for you. None whatsoever. Less than none. None for your family either. That you are from a family that your daddy can't support is not my problem. Perhaps he should have thought about how he was going to support his family before... Oh, never mind.

Too bad. Quit 'chur crying. Man up. At least for the time being. You know that 'teh one' will do everything in his power to show his pansy-ass side, too, and try to get you out of the trouble you're in. You know. To show the kinder, softer, gentler side of us terrible 'Murrican's and how we are the entire reason for man-made disasters world-wide.

And at least you've got a lawyer and the ACLU on your side. Best thing that could have happened, in my most humble opinion, would have been a boating accident off the back of the Bainbridge. I have no doubt that the fine sailors on that Ship considered such a scenario because now, instead of a piracy trial, we're in for a spectacle about how awful it was of some Americans to shoot and kill a couple of sea thugs and there will be show-trials and commissions and investigations and all sorts of other waste of taxpayer money type happenings that shouldn't take place in the first place.

You are nothing but a yukssgifupnc* [unscramble the letters to make two words!], Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse. The more scourge like you and your ilk that are eliminated from the world only serves to make it a much better place for the rest of us.

*See? A word game. Don't ever let it be said that I'm not a giver.

Sweetness & Light has a good post on this and confirms much of what I was only "speculating" on. [This pansy is the oldest of 12 children - his father is poor and can't feed his family. Didn't I imply he shouldn't have been doing the wild thing if he couldn't afford the consequences of his actions? Why, yes. Yes I did. The lawyer for this little pos continues to lie about his age. But to top it off, there will be book and movie rights. I say that any income received needs to be used to repay the U.S. government for the efforts expended in saving Captain Phillips.]

Miss California

Carrie Prejean. A very, very pretty woman, no doubt about that. The new Miss USA is prettier, imho. And no, there is no bias there at all just because I consider home to be North Carolina. However, I have to say, I admire Miss California for having the guts and conviction to answer that queerascanbe-d-list-celebrity-wannabe in an honest way. And for the record, I, too, believe that marriage should be between only a man and a woman [ONE woman!].

You want to be some weirdo and do stuff behind closed doors that others might be offended by - that is your prerogative - but don't force it upon the rest of society. I hope that now that the queerascanbe-d-list-celebrity-wannabe has said that Miss Prejean's answer to the question is the reason she lost the Miss USA pageant, that he gets his pants sued off him. Literally. Miss Prejean may have the legal basis for a suit. You go, Girl!

Oh, and by the way, Miss Prejean - I didn't even know who Miss North Carolina - now Miss USA was - without googling her - and now you ARE a household name!

The only "Miss" anything I remember ever having won any beauty contest is Vanessa Williams. She did well for herself after her controversy. I hope that you succeed far beyond your wildest dreams and expectations, Carrie. Somehow I suspect it will be in a completely different venue than that Vanessa chose...

Oh, No, You Didn't!

Wednesday morning Inam does our floors. The tile. Kitchen, living room, dining room and hallways. Wednesday has always been floor day, here. This morning, I was in the kitchen just finishing up breakfast when Inam came in from the living room with his bucket of dirty floor water and emptied it into the sink. What the?!? Oh. No. You didn't! He did. My dish scrubbie was in the sink, dishes were in the sink and the idiot dumped the entire bucket of dirty floor water all over everything.

You couldn't say, "Excuse me, Madam. Please move the dishes?" Nope. We go over things like this time and time and time again. I may as well just beat my head against the wall. The reason I was hurrying to get the breakfast mess cleaned up in the kitchen was so that he could do the floor without us being in the way. No. This is NOT the first or second or third or fourth time that I have instructed him to move anything in the sink onto the counter before pouring his bucket full of dirty floor water on top of everything. It is little stuff like this that puts me over the edge.

Yes. I had to say, "Inam, do not EVER let me see you pour water into a sink containing dishes again." Of course I am going to rinse them and put them in the dishwasher and wash them on "sanitize" [high temperature], but still. It is just the point. Can you be that stupid? Apparently.

I truly do feel sorry for houseboys, here. These men did not one day in their own country wake up and say, "I want to be a houseboy for an ex-pat family in Saudi Arabia when I grow up." No. Of course they didn't. I do understand that. Perhaps if they could get jobs in their own countries - Bangledesh, India, Sri Lanka, or wherever - then they would not have to come here to be domestic workers. But, since, in those countries, where one specific religion is predominantly practiced more than any other and where birth control is not allowed to be used due to religious beliefs, then you have to face the fact that there is not going to be enough employment for all of those people and thus, you are going to end up in some other country doing whatever job you can get - and in this case - domestic work.

It is hardly my fault that you are working as a houseboy in Saudi Arabia. Consider yourself lucky to have a job. Period. And consider yourself extremely lucky that you found someone to employ you [even though you've already been fired once - because you are so damn slow and dumb as a box of rocks!] that pays you well and that doesn't abuse you. I rarely raise my voice to Inam. [Inom, Inam - I think it is actually Inam, but I called him Inom for so long and he never corrected me that it is habit but I don't intentionally mispronounce his name. Or, do I?]

Yet, he continues to do things over and over and over that I have specifically said NOT TO DO. Like pour a bucket full of dirty floor water in a sink that has my kitchen scrubbie in it or dishes. Or sweep before picking The Kids' bowls up or if I have food out. Or not pick up The Kids' toys before sweeping and actually sweep them! [Yes. He has done that on several occasions, as well.]
Or fold laundry just because the buzzer went off on the dryer and I didn't race to it myself. And put the soap in the built-in tile soap dishes in the bathrooms - which I don't use because soap just gets gunky and slimey in those - I use small plastic soap holders which can be cleaned in the dishwasher [or replaced] that keeps the soap from getting gunky and slimey...

Truly the jobs I have Inam do are nothing more than basic. I would never ask him to clean my refrigerators. I'll do it. No one else could possibly do it as well as I can. I don't ask him to do laundry - in fact, one other houseboy got fired for doing the laundry - and Inam has been told several times NOT to touch the clothes in the dryer. I'll do it, thank you very much. I don't have him make the bed or change the sheets. I like it done a certain way. Don't take care of my shoes. You don't know where they go. Just put them in the closet and I'll make sure they get put in their plastic boxes and then stacked where they go. [Two, three, four pairs of shoes a day... Depends what I'm doing. I am guilty of taking my shoes off and leaving them under the coffee table or under the computer desk. Just put them in the closet. I'll take care of them.] Don't dust my purple vase collection. If one of them is going to get broken, then I want to be the one who does the breaking, so I'll take care of dusting and washing them. Little things... Just do the bathrooms, the floors, the vacuuming, keep the patio furniture clean... But for goodness sake, don't make me keep telling you NOT to do things like pour dirty water in a sink that is full!

Is that asking too much? [Rhetorical!]

Social Etiquettes

Misleading headline, here. It says, "Short courses on social etiquettes in high demand." Thought for sure I was going to be reading something along the lines of "how to stand in a queue and wait your turn," or "how not to be odoriferously offensive." Nope. It is a course teaching couples what to do to make their marriages work. Classes on REAL "social etiquettes" would go a long way here...

A Yemeni man was beheaded, yesterday, for shooting a young boy in the stomach and leaving him to die after the boy "fended off his attempts at rape." What's the head count, now?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

She Just Couldn't Take It Anymore!

No reason why this woman killed her husband. Let's just guess that she probably just couldn't take it anymore. His abusive nature, or unemployment, or his philandering. Something happened that this woman snapped and killed her husband by shooting him - and then set his body on fire to try to hide the evidence. We will never know what it was that happened because she's not talking any more. She was beheaded yesterday. [What's the total so far?] The daughter is in prison; her sentence was 15 years and 2,000 lashes for helping her mother try to burn the man's body.

A housemaid has stabbed "an infant." Sounds worse than it is - which is not to make light of the fact that a child has been stabbed, but a two-year-old is NOT an infant. A two-year-old is a toddler. I'm calling B.S. on this story. Something more happened. The father of the child was stabbed when he tried to help the child. The maid was fresh off the boat and believed the vaccine she received at the hospital during her mandatory medical physical was an attempt by the family to try to harm her. There is more to this than what is being reported.

When you can't get workers from certain countries because word of how abusive employers are and word of how employers don't pay the promised salaries deters others from coming to work, here, what do you do? Simply find another third world country in dire straits and hire from that country. Oh, and for the record, it is never the employer's fault, but always the employee's fault whenever ANY wrongdoing occurs. This makes that pretty clear: "...the increasing trend of workers to try to escape their sponsors" is because of a "lack of deterrent." Of course that only happens when "breaches of contract go unpunished," and there is mention of punishing "both parties," but I think we all know how that works out. Only the employee is actually punished. A recent proposal to reduce the fees incurred by the employer [which in a high percentage of cases is actually paid by the employee by means of salary deduction] is supposed to encourage employers to give their employees incentives to stay with them. Um-hmm. Don't see that being any part of the solution. But, hey. That's just my opinion.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rubina Ali - Beautiful 9-Year-Old Child Star

In Slumdog Millionaire. A great movie, by the way, if you haven't seen it. I liked it. Had some very disturbing scenes, though. I suspect there are many, many places in India where children actually do live as depicted in the film, and I have no doubt that perfectly healthy children are maimed to become beggars on the streets. Certainly a blind child - one who's eyes have been gouged out with a spoon - is going to elicit more sympathy - and thus become a more "productive" beggar than a child who has both eyes. Ditto for chopping off hands, arms, feet or legs. If maiming children in third world countries is not a criminal act, it certainly should be, and I am of the opinion that an eye for an eye or a hand for a hand or whatever should be only part of the punishment these barbarians receive.

Rubina Ali's mother is claiming that her father, who is remarried, tried to sell the little girl - oh, but in his words, he was not selling her, instead he was giving her up for adoption for a price. Six of one, half dozen of the other. Rubina's mother, Khushi, said "that Quraishi and his second wife Meena were always 'crazy for money.' Now that my daughter has achieved international fame, they want to capitalise on it at any cost." Throw the bum and his second wife in jail. Or at the very least obtain a restraining order - or whatever it is you need in your country - to keep this man, the little girl's own father, and his money-hungry wife far, far away from little Rubina.

It was reported "that Quraishi wanted to get rid of poverty and become a millionaire by selling his nine-year-old daughter." Nice. Supposedly he was demanding
£200,000. "I have to consider what's best for me, my family and Rubina's future." Oh, really? Doesn't sound to me like you gave your little girl's future any consideration at all!

Apparently the bum's phone was shut off - Rubina's father's phone - and his neighbor and friend Yakub Abdul Shaikh "confirmed that the incident had occurred a few days ago, but nobody really took it seriously as Rubina's father said he had been 'misunderstood' by the foreigners... since the foreigners were speaking in Arabic..." He claims that Rubina's father "had no intentions of giving away his daughter in adoption for
£200,000 to an Arab family." Let me correct that for you - it isn't adoption in this part of the world. It is marriage. I think we can all be fairly certain that no one pays £200,000 for a maid or domestic help. This little girl, if he would have been able to get away with it, would become some pedophile's xes toy. There. I said it.

Make of it what you will. I am sickened that the man - little Rubina's father - even considered it. And you wonder what makes other countries look at you with ridicule and scorn. Let me answer that for you - it is particular instances just like this - where little CHILDREN are married off to grown men!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

No Can Do - I Am Management

Excuse me?

Yep. That's what he said. "I am management."

Several months ago a couple moved from The Sandbox back to the States. Without getting into detail what happened is that the wife went home first to get their teenage daughter enrolled in school. Then her older son, who is diabetic, got very sick. The final straw was that their house got submerged in water during Hurricane Ike. Not a good scene. So, the wife, who was going to return to The Sandbox to help her husband get their house here packed up and ready to move, decided that with all that was happening she needed to stay in Texas. The husband took care of what needed to be done at this end prior to returning to the States - well, mostly. I ended up with all of the plants - both indoor and outdoor plants - that she had and I promised I would try to sell them for her.

The plants were all in beautiful pots. Pots that were NOT inexpensive. I have sold them for her. The plants, in their beautiful - but very heavy - pots have been sitting on our patio for a while and finally - finally - today the person who bought them came to pick them up. She arrived with two friends. There were four of us to move the plants, including me. A couple of the pots/plants were really, really heavy. We needed a couple of big, strong men. No problem, right?

Across the street there was a worker outside getting ready to mow some grass and another man with him. We summoned them to come and help us. The one worker - one of our compound's many, many imported laborers, immediately came to assist us. The other one? He walked over to us when we beckoned him to come, but he didn't lift a finger. Why? Because, when he was asked if he would help us, he said, "No. I am management." I kid you not. That is exactly what he said and that is why he would not help four struggling women lift some heavy pots into the back of an Explorer. He stood right next to us and watched, and he watched his worker assist us but he refused to help us. It was truly appalling, lame and pathetic. We offered to pay them for their assistance and did give the laborer some cash for helping. Something tells me that the laborer did not get to keep all the money, though. I suspect the "manager" insisted on taking at least half. Regretfully, the laborer didn't come back through the gate and the woman that bought the plants gave him the money next to the truck instead of on the patio. I know the "manager" saw the transaction take place. I am hopeful that the laborer told him to stick it...

Woman buying plants:

"Sir, could you help us get these pots in this truck?"

Man from across the street:

"No. I am management."

Well excuuuussssssse, me!

Unbelievable. And, only in The Sandbox.

The Sandbox Today

Locally... Not a lot happening. It is a beautiful, warm and sunny day. Won't be too long and I will be out there "working" full-time again.

A young girl, 11 years old, is currently in the custody of her mother "as a precautionary measure while investigations continue" after allegedly being repeatedly raped by her father and brother. It was a teacher at the little girl's school who noticed that something was amiss, "that the girl was withdrawn in class." Worst part of the story? The mother KNEW that her daughter was being repeatedly raped by her "estranged" husband and her son and did nothing about it because she was afraid! Not that this doesn't happen in other parts of the world - it probably does. Still it is just sick, sick, sick.

Fixing the working hours of maids from 10AM to 5PM is never gonna happen. Not that it is a bad idea... But I doubt very much that many families here are going to be willing to basically eliminate what amounts to slavery. And those hours, 10AM to 5PM? Nope. The article says "that fixed working hours for maids will go a long way in changing lifestyles especially of those who need domestic helpers late at night. A majority of Saudi families dine late at night making it difficult for them to fix specific working hours for housemaids." Eat earlier. Problem solved.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


What a laugh! You're going to install parking meters in the Eastern Province. No, you are not. Seriously? How? Stack them all up at the door since everyone here deserves THE one single front space and parks in every conceivable manner BUT for inside the designated yellow parking lines? Are you going to put them in the middle of the streets where people park because they are entitled to? They block traffic with no regard to anyone but themselves. May as well just add to the chaos by putting parking meters down the center of the roads.

Why is it that the Eastern Province is slated to be the "first victim of efforts to curb traffic violations and bring order to urban areas." Have you EVEN tried to rationalize what you are doing? Umm. No. I don't think so. You think parking meters are going to "curb traffic violations?" Where are you getting your information from? Really. I want to know what traffic genius came up with that plan. "Motorists in Al-Khobar and Dammam will, from next month and the month after respectively, have to pay to park their vehicles in the central areas of the cities." I am going to have to make a special trip downtown this week just to show you that this can't be done. You cannot install double-triple-quadruple-decker parking meters. And, since that is how parking is achieved here, it is going to be close to impossible.

"...the zones for which the meters are destined have been allotted to a Saudi company to carry out the operation of the meters in order to 'bring traffic to order in Dammam and make the city more pleasant and civil.'" Time and time and time again I have given my best advice as to how to effectuate making traffic orderly to make the city "more pleasant and civil." Not once in any of my rants have I ever suggested that parking meters would alleviate the situation. Nope. It is going to make the problem worse. No one is going to pay to park in designated spaces with meters. Like I said, they don't park in designated spaces now. You're going to have even more road congestion and more traffic violators. Mark my words.

Start towing cars improperly parked and along with making the owner of the vehicle pay for the tow - add a hefty fine to it and make the violator responsible for his action. As far as the other "traffic" violations? You know. Speeding. Not stopping at red lights. Passing where there is no passing. All of those trivial little traffic rules? Start by letting the traffic police do their jobs - install cameras and radar equipment in the cars - let the traffic police drive real vehicles instead of the Flintstones pedal models they've been provided with, which must compete with all the Suburbans and Mercedes. Issue a point system [wasn't this supposed to have been done, already?] and start impounding vehicles and taking away the driving privileges of those violators. Do this for just a few short months and I betcha' you'd see "more pleasant and civil" driving going on around. Or. Do it your way. Install parking meters. I think we all know how this is going to work out.

And, this. I saw it a couple of days ago - would have been Wednesday morning that I did errands and was accosted on no less than three and quite probably more occasions by women and at least one man who waltzed by me and gave odoriferous proof that they refuse to wash either their bodies or clothing in soap in water and instead have chosen to use the world's most offending perfumes and colognes. I'm pretty sure I've posted on this before. I don't know the names of the "scents" they were wearing, but since they permeated ever fiber of my being - both internally and externally - I will never forget them. No kidding.

As I was walking from the parking lot [where, yes, I did, indeed, park in a designated space outlined in yellow], headed to go to the post office, a woman passed me in her head-to-toe flowing black and as she did I was unable to restrain myself with the "ehccsh" which unconsciously - reflexively - first choked its way down my nostrils and then up my throat, past my tongue and off of my lips - not quietly. The smell was so overpowering and sickeningly sweet it left a bad taste in my mouth. I am cringing as I sit at my keyboard typing this just thinking about it. And, when I thought it was over - the assault on my olfactory senses - it happened again, just moments later. A different, just as obnoxious and overpowering scent, surrounded me and I was for a short while caught up in that pollution cloud! I continued muttering to myself. Out loud. "What is it? Last day of the week and bath day isn't until tomorrow? Why must you do that! Do you have any idea just how awful it is?" Was that it? Heck no, it wasn't. A man in the Commissary who was behind me as I was unloading my groceries assaulted me again in the same way! And I was trapped. Unloading my groceries with my cart in front of me - and him directly behind me. Noooooooo!

Just stop. The directions on most bottles clearly come with instructions for a quick spritz or spray. One bottle of some obnoxious odor you bought at the most exclusive perfume / cologne counter does not me ONE USE! It should last you for many, many months. And, if your own personal body odor is so offensive that you feel you must cover it with an entire bottle of sickeningly sweet perfume perhaps there is a problem and you need to either see a doctor or try the old-fashioned method of cleaning - soap and water.

How does all of that fit in with this? The article says that some lawmakers are calling for the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice to be revamped and they want to "specify the powers of the field staff." Apparently it is believed "that some Commission members are exercising excessive powers that are not in their jurisdiction and are interfering in the private affairs of individuals. They accused panel members of acts like getting into individuals' mobile phone data, reckless chasing, and inspecting women to check if they were using perfumes that "disturb others", cutting off their hairs or wearing improper dress." [Sic.] Hmmm. My senses have been disturbed on a number of occasions and I have yet to see anyone stepping in to make sure that they weren't. If the religious police are going to be in charge of curbing that type of particular and specific disturbance, then I say it is a good thing! No one should be subjected to that kind of long-lasting and semi-permanent assault.
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