Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Well, Christmas has come and gone in the blink of an eye.

I had an ear infection and sore throat right before hand, and I was totally stressed out from work, so I didn't manage to get the presents wrapped and under the tree until after midnight on Christmas Eve - well technically very early Christmas morning.

Thank God for the boxes from my mom and sisters arriving on the 23rd, otherwise things would have looked a little bleak under the tree. Speaking of my boxes arriving, the customs official wanted to charge me like 200 extra dirhams and I asked him "Why? They're gifts?" and he said "Under $200 gift - over charge" But each individual box was under $200 dollars and they didn't come from the same place, I just happened to pick them up on the same day. It makes no sense. The same three boxes, if I had picked them up on separate days, would have been free.
They also included the cost of posting the items with the actual price to calculate the duty - nice :(

Anyway, I decide to just cook a little meal for myself and the boys, but then I ended up inviting another American friend and her family because she wasn't at all prepared for Christmas thanks to her sons having chicken pox. Mine already had it, so I figured there was no harm in inviting them. I also invited my Jordanian coworker.

I cooked turkey, corn pudding and mashed potatoes (with sour cream) and then apple crisp and cheesecake (baked New York Style) for dessert.

My maid announced that she is going home for a vacation. First she said she would be gone for two weeks, then one month now it stands at month and a week, who knows what it will be next. This means I have no one to watch my kids while I am at work. S is almost 13, though, so I guess he can babysit for little D. My main worry is what they will eat for lunch and dinner - that's pretty much all she did for them anyway, cooked. Otherwise, she was in her room watching TV. I am hoping, though, that after she has a break, she will be in a better mood and work better.

Finding a maid is not such an easy task in RAK...

I need a vacation... a real one, not a trip back home where I will end up sitting at a computer doing my work the entire time. They don't respect my right to have a proper leave here. Even when I am on sick leave they bug me and nag me about deadlines.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I can't believe another Christmas is almost here again... though I am not particularly looking forward to it.

I am so tired of spending holidays alone. But at least I got to have a real Thanksgiving this year - one American friend from work had a gathering at her place - so it was me and my two boys, her and her husband and her two boys and a Latina American and her two boys and then a bunch of non Americans - an Iranian - who said "oh ver deed you find dis biiiig cheeken" when she saw the Turkey - :)) (she's so cute), a Mauritian, a Bulgarian and a German woman and her daughter.

It was quite a nice gathering - all the nice people that I like from work - none of the mean gossipy ones. I also thought it was cool to celebrate what I think is one of the nicest North American cultural holidays with so many non-Americans. Setting one day aside to have a feast with friends and thank God for what he has given you in the past year is something nice that I think anyone can appreciate. I am not saying that you shouldn't be thankful all the time - but making a special occasion to do it is nice too.

I made one hell of a delicious pumpkin pie (if I might say so myself). Of course, like all things - especially desserts - that are extra delicious, it is quite fattening. My secret - substitute cream for some of the evaporated milk.

Anyway, good time was had by all - afterward the host went for a walk and the children were upstairs playing and we ladies had a fine time dancing to Latin, Arabic, Turkish and Indian music.

The next day we were invited to yet another Thanksgiving dinner, which was also nice but quieter.

I love turkey....

speaking of turkey, since when did it become the norm to serve gravy from a jar??? For me that's paramount to sacrilege - throw out all the nice juices and flavour from the turkey and serve some ... goop.. from a can... luckily, my hosts had not yet thrown out the drippings and I was able to make real gravy for them - which I can safely say myself is 1,000,000 x better than canned crap. Is gravy-making, like sewing quilting, bread making becoming a lost skill? I certainly hope not. But just in case, I have already taught my sons to make it - and that importance of making the real thing... so let's hope it will stay alive for at least one more generation beyond me.

All this talk of turkey reminds me I need to skiddadle out to Carrefour and get one for Christmas before they are all gone.

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On an entirely different note... I am having some trouble with my maid and I am not sure how to deal with it.

She is a nice lady, but lately she has become incredibly lazy.

For example i noticed this growing dirty gray patch on the kitchen floor. So I asked her to clean it... it felt kind of sticky - it's still there. I tried cleaning it myself - it isn't hard to do, which means she didn't even try.

I went on vacation for almost a month and I came back and my clothes were just jammed in my closet - not put nicely - jammed. (And she got paid for that month by the way).

When I wake up in the morning, she is asleep. When I come home from work, she is asleep... any time I look for her, she is in her room with the door locked. I think she stays up all night watching Ethiopian TV and then sleeps all day. What bothers me more than her laziness is the way she acts so put upon.

My son got ringworm recently from the cat. Although they have their own room, my kids sleep with me (don't like to sleep alone :(... ) So she only has to tidy up one room really. I told her that while he has ringworm, the sheets have to be changed every day. She had a little hissy fit about that - changing sheets of one whole bed every day!! Imagine that! When she first started working for me, they slept in their own bed, and I had another lady staying with me - so she had four beds to make - but for some reason this was an intolerable request from me.

She recently bleach the bajesus out of a pair of my work pants because she was too lazy to separate the clothes for washing and just dumped them all in the wash together. She then complained to my boys about how it was my fault for "hiding" my pants in the sheets. And I didn't even get mad at her or say anything, I just told her "ok, please check better next time."

She moved the racks for drying clothes under some tree where the clothes now get covered with little seeds and crap while they dry. I think she did this because it is right outside her door so she only has to walk a couple feet to get to the them. I had put them under the car park because the sun doesn't hit them directly and they don't fade there.... in her new places they get some sun and all my clothes are looking dull in colour. I told her i would like them dried in the previous place and she told me 'no this is better'... Mind you the car park is only another 15 feet away .... if that.

Just in case anyone is wondering.. I pay her waaaay more than anyone else I know pays their maid, and I don't boss her around - though it seems I may have to start. Also unlike many maids in other houses, she is free to eat whatever she wants... something she takes full advantage of - the other day I found out she's been feeding the boys several day old leftovers of chicken while she ate all the (fresh) steak herself - her reason? Because she doesn't like chicken as much as beef (Never mind that the boys also prefer beef).

The good thing about her is that she is honest, I can trust her to be alone in the house and she is basically a nice person - though she seems to be in some kind of funk lately. I also know she would never hurt my children and she is a pretty good cook - when she wants to be. She watches cooking shows sometimes I think, and then tries out little things she sees on them, which is nice.

I really don't know what to do. I don't know how to be bossy, but I am getting tired of things not being done - it has gotten to the point where I spend my weekends cleaning because I am not happy with the way she does it.