Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yes, It's Hot Thanks for Asking

I wear a hijab. That means I wear loose fitting clothing that doesn't outline my body and I cover everything with the exception of my face and hands. I wear a scarf to cover my hair. It's sometimes viewed by westerners as an "oppressive" type of garb, but it's actually quite freeing. When I talk to men, they actually have to deal with ME...not just my boobs. No, really. I don't have to worry about whether or not a colleague, a salesclerk or other person that I have to interact with during my daily routine as a mother/wife/customer/patient is actually hearing what I'm saying or is mentally admiring my hair or tight pants or cleavage....because all of those distractions are removed from the equation. I'm an actual equal. And I reserve those "distractions" or "ornaments" of me for the one man in my life who should see them: my husband. Well, my sons or brother or dad or paternal uncles or maternal uncles can see me without my hijab. But I would never be allowed to marry any of them. And yes. It's hot under all these clothes in the summertime. But that's okay. I chose to wear this for my religious reasons. And I am not being forced to wear it. Just like my daughters aren't forced to wear it. I started teaching my older daughter to wear it when she was 11 because she began developing rather early. It was a means of protection for her. She was not aware that she needed protection from some filthy piggish men who were making disgusting remarks about her. She is autistic, so she isn't aware of these types of foul-minded people or how disrespectful they were speaking about her. I was though and I put them in their place. And yelled out for her father who came downstairs and chased them off of our street. And to her it's just normal because she is a big girl and dresses like Mommy. My younger daughter discussed the issue with me and when she turned 11, she also began to wear hijab. She liked the idea of the girls only family tradition. And it's like a club for us girls. And she wears the latest styles of scarves and enjoys being modest. And sometimes she gets hot, too. But she knows that she can always take it off when she gets home. So it's no big deal. And it's our choice. Respect it.

Monday, June 20, 2011


While I admit, I AM totally SUPER-MOM, I do have limits.
I can do a bunch of junk simultaneously but I have to draw
the line at cleaning two houses that are 3 miles apart at the
same time. So while I'm cleaning all the dust and dirt out of
the new apartment which had been empty for about a year
after not having been cleaned by the previous tenants for
the last ten years, I cannot possibly clean the apartment we
are still living in. I am good. I'm DAMN good....but not
THAT damn good.

So here's a message to the family: Hey, Sponges. (And I
mean that in the sucking the life out of me sense of the word.)
Pick up your dishes off the table and WASH THEM when
you are finished eating. If the washing machine goes off
after I turn it on before walking out the door to go hose off
12 pounds worth of dirt from the window screens, PULL
them out and hang them on the line. While it IS an automatic
washing machine, it too has limits. You kids are all over the
age of 10 and none of you has had your hands amputated,
thank God. So if you're hungry while I'm out, don't use
digits to call me to inform me of this information. COOK
something. Make a sandwich. Give me a flippin' break.

Okay, the soap box I'm standing on is getting wobbly....
I'd better get down. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's 12:30am, Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

Hectic doesn't begin to describe my life. I have accepted this. It is
just par for my course. I have grown accustomed to standing, fully
dressed, keys in hand, purse on my shoulder, trying to herd 4 kids
out the door to school without waking the 5th kid, while handing
out backpacks and making sure someone remembers to grab the
overflowing trash bag to take downstairs on the way out the door,
only to realize that the 15 yr old is still wearing plastic flip-flops
with socks as the 12 yr old comes rushing back in announcing that
he's forgotten to "hustle up" his hair. If there is ever a woman who
can juggle cooking dinner while washing dishes and sorting laundry
as she hollers step-by-step instructions to her husband who is
attempting to restore his laptop computer to a previous setting due
to the 10 yr old who, despite being threatened with no computer
privileges until he reaches puberty and being put up for adoption,
searched for, went to, and played on a Chinese free game site that
is notorious for trojan horses and viruses, I am she.

Today,  I got up at noon. Don't roll your eyes. I wasn't "sleeping in."
I didn't go to bed until 6a.m. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah.
I got up at noon. Slugged back 2 cups of coffee, washed a load
of clothes, made up the beds in the girls room and swept it out.
I WOULD HAVE made up the beds in the boys room but the
blankets had that funky aroma of feet, ball sweat and bad breath,
so I hung them all on the clothes line out the window and swept
the room. I broke up three fights, got dressed and grabbed up all
the leftover watermelon rinds, tomato and cucumbers ends, cores
to lettuce and old bread out of the refrigerator (YES, it was saved
in a bag) and dropped it off to my husband's aunt who is raising
ducks. I called the chicken vendor and had him slaughter two
chickens for me and then raced like a crazy woman to get to his
shop while trying not vomit do to the cheap cologne that the
guy sitting on the bus next to me bathed in prior to leaving his
house. HORK!  I picked up my chickens, hit the open market
and got fruit and vegetables, bought some fresh bread and beat
feet home only to find an entire sink full of damn dirty dishes.
I called in the 15 yr old and said, "YOUR TURN. I did them
before I left and I was only gone an hour." Begrudinlgy, he
did them. I cleaned the chickens and put them on to boil.
 I measured out the appropriate dosage for the 14 yr old's
nebulizer treatment, doled out the right amount of antibiotic
liquid meds for the 45 yr old with an infected molar whose
gag reflex STILL will not allow him to swallow pills
and a lot of adult meds just don't come in liquid form. (No, really.
Do you know how many pharmacists in Augusta, Georgia think
I'm either insane or an abusive parent due to my having to drive
all over the city looking for liquid morphine after his surgery?!)
I cooked a fantastic meal of chicken, Middle Eastern potato salad
and a fine watercress green salad, washed up the dishes and then
jetted down the stairs to the roof of our neighbors house in order
to scrub 6 area rugs and a hall runner.
I returned home to find my husband still poking around on the
laptop. I took over the computer doctoring, turned on the tv to
a good movie (Hitch) and threatened the lives of 4 kids who'd
been on the PC all day long if they didn't let the 14 yr old have
a turn as my husband went down to his aunt's house to help fix her
washing machine.

Five minutes after he walked out the door, the tourists across
the hall knocked and wanted to use our bathroom AND fill up
all the empty soda bottles, buckets and pots and pans with
water. Look. If you have enough money to buy a summer
beach apartment AND a refrigerator and stove to put in it,
then scrape up another 350 pounds and buy a friggin' water
pump to make sure your apartment has water. Don't have us
running from the faucet to the front door for 20 minutes
straight and THEN send your non-flushing grandmother over
to poop in our bathroom when we DON'T have a ceiling fan
in there.

We finished with the bucket brigade and then 10 minutes later,
my husband called and asked me to send the 12 yr old down
with the hammer he'd forgotten to bring with him.
He specifically said, "Send one of his brothers with him. It's after
11pm." So I suggested I'd send the 15 yr old who had been passing
gas on the back side of the oscillating fan I was sitting in front of
while trying to fix the stupid laptop and trying not to throw up.
The 11 yr old about that time, cranked up the volume on the tv as
loud as it would go, while the 14 yr old starts yelling, "TOO LOUD!"
from the bedroom. The 15 yr old starts complaining of abdominal
cramps (ya think?) and the 12 yr old started yelling at the 10 yr old.
I couldn't follow the shouted conversations, the movie or the damn
directions for finding the right restore point I wanted on the computer
so I didn't notice who went in what direction when I heard the front
door slam. After about 45 minutes the 15 yr old was sitting in the
living room again. I asked him, "Wow. You guys really went down and
came back up that fast?" Then started the yelling between the destructo
twins (10 and 11 yr olds) fighting on the couch about who was in
whose seat so I didn't hear what 15 yr old said. 14 yr old got hungry
and came out to ask me to cook her some chicken wings. I finished
making the wings and then went into the boys room to check on the
12 yr old. The room was empty. So I checked the girls room. Also
empty. I didn't think it was possible to overlook him, but I checked
the living room and my room again. Not there either. So I freaked out.
I asked the 15 yr old why he came back up without his brother.
He said he never went down with him. So then starts the argument
about what's more important? Pooping or following directions.
I decided this was not helpful and called his father to find that the boy
neglected to tell him that I a) didn't know he'd left alone and b) didn't
know that the 15 yr old had opted to go to the bathroom while the
10 yr old refused to go at all because the 12 yr old had shouted at
him. See? See what all this tuning them out because they're getting on
my nerves does? It leaves me asking at half past midnight where the
hell my 12 yr old is. But I guess if things weren't this chaotic, it
wouldn't be my life. And I'd have a mansion and eat lunch with Oprah
and I'd be thin and I'd have a personal trainer and size 5 pants that I
could actually fit in. (Because I associate calm and tranquil with
having money and a small butt.)
But the truth of the matter is, I'm not. I am relatively calm, take
tranquilizers, have a thin wallet and  wear stretch pants. Oh well.
I'm a good cook with good kids and clean rugs and a man that
understands that sanity is not all it's cracked up to be. Who could
ask for more?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Today Started Out Fine...

...but in the last few hours it's become rather emotional. I've cried
four times in the last three hours. Well, one of those times was out
of sheer frustration having told the boys to go to bed no less than
5,362 times since 11:30pm. But the other three times have just been
weirdly triggered by Facebook and blogs of all things. Granted,
the Facebook cry session was due to a message I received from a
very dear friend of mine whose brother is dying of cancer.

While he and I were never close friends, I always had one of those
"Oh, God, I would just die if he were to ever walk up and say, 'You
are the woman for me,' but it'll never happen because he'd dating a
friend of yours" kind of crushes on him. So I never said anything.
Anyway, my friend told me that he had to tell his daughter that his
cancer didn't respond to the chemotherapy. I flashed back to my
senior year in high school when my mom had to tell us 2 weeks after
losing her leg to cancer, that she was terminal and had probably less
than 6 months to live. It felt like I'd had the wind knocked out of me.
I mean, I dealt with it. I had to. I was the oldest of four and had to
pick up Mom's slack while she was sick. But it sucked. I remembered
all those feelings of anger, sadness, rage, indifference, self-pity,
compassion and fear came bubbling back up after all these years. I
definitely can relate to how his daughter is feeling now. (Mom made it
by the way. She made the protocol for an experimental drug and
she's one of the NIH success stories for Interleuken II. As I understand
it, not that many made it.) 

I regained my composure from this bout of crying just after I added
my friend, her brother, his daughter, and their entire family to my
prayer list. I yelled at my kids and got back into the groove that is
motherhood, and then sat down to read one of my favorite blogs
and in spite of how hilarious Brittany is, she struck a nerve in me and
the next thing I knew, I was bawling my eyes out again with my head
on the desk. God, I'm such a sap. Pass the tissue. Ismail came in and
asked me if I was crying. I said yes. He asked why and hugged me. I
just gave him the usual mom-spiel about how I'm sad right now and
just need a quick cry. That seemed okay with him and got me a kiss

So then I thought maybe my other favorite blog might cheer me up.
WRONG! This usually funny, self-deprecating site was written in the
middle of some seriously stressed-out Mom-mode angst. I don't know
what's going on with Shauna's family right now but she made number
3 on my prayer list for personal intentions. And then the tears began
to flow again. Wow.

I need to drink a 2-liter bottle of water to refill my tear ducts, I think.
But maybe tomorrow will be better, God willing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ready, Set, Jump into Summer!!

I went to pick up Ismail's report card from the school yesterday....and lo,
and behold! HE PASSED. We'd been so worried because he really does
not study much and I'm convinced he has a little dyslexia going on. At
any rate, Ismail passed. We're soooo happy. No summer school. No more
screaming, yelling, begging, crying, grounding, etc. Yay!
We took them to the beach with my husband's cousins and their kids.
Wow. Ten kids in the water with me. I've  never counted to 10 so many
times in 3 hours in my life. But everyone had fun and no one drowned
and by the time the sun set, we were ready to get home. I LOVE LOVE LOVE living this close to the beach. I'm not really a beach person...and
this year I'm loving it. Anyway, the above photo is a little old...from
back in April before the weather started getting nice. I'll get serious or funny again with a later blog, I guess. Today is just a "this is where we're at" kinda thing. And by the way, that would be THE BEACH!