Saturday, May 30, 2009

Memories of Plagues Past

One Easter Sunday, ages and ages and ages ago, expateek and her family were in the midst of moving from North Carolina to Illinois. That would have been household move number, oh, say 5 or 6 or 7, expateek forgets.

They'd packed up all their worldly goods (jeez, again with the flippin' worldly goods!) and had holed up in a hotel in Nashville, where Mr D had thoughtfully staged the traditional Easter egg hunt in their Marriott hotel suite. On Easter morning, the four children, aged 10, 7, 5, and 3, gamely filled tiny plastic bags with chocolate mini-eggs. After a pancake breakfast, Mr D and expateek loaded themselves, kids, and cats into the minivan, and drove off toward Chicago.

They reached the promised land hours and hours later, after many pee breaks, unhappy kitty serenades, and endless sugar-fueled bickering from the back seat.

Arriving mid-afternoon at the scrungy hotel in Glen Ellyn (The Four Seasons, which sounded good on paper, but was in fact the most run-down excuse for a hotel ever seen), Mr D, always the strategic parent, turned on the hotel room's TV in order to mesmerise the children and have a few moments of peace. Then Mr D and expateek toted suitcases, and boxes of important documents, and cats and litter boxes and car games and snack bags and a sh*te load of other crap into the hotel room.

Completely bushed, expateek collapsed in a lump onto the edge of the bed, and stared brainlessly at the black and white movie playing on the screen. Seven-year-old Tarquin Jr sat beside her, totally transfixed.

R2_2_010223 10 commandments, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

"What's happening now?" expateek asked Tarquin Jr.

"Shhhh, Mom! Shhhh! That was just the plague of blood."

"The plague of blood?" expateek repeated.

"Shhhh, Mom! Shhhh! Next up is the rain of frogs! Shhhh!"

"The rain of frogs? How do you know? Have you seen this movie before, Tarquin Jr?"

"Naw, but sheesh, Mom, haven't you read the Bible?"

Mr D, choking with laughter, said "So much for your Sunday School teaching career, expateek! You must have skipped the religious ed requirement at Wellesley. Duh!!!"

post3460 red sea, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Check out Cecil B DeMille's The Ten Commandments next Easter, if you want a refresher course.

Or keep reading right here, because damn if we don't have another plague coming right up!

Poor, poor le French boss of the bad news! It is just after lunch, Paris time, and after downing a lovely bistro lunch, le boss feels a little bit feverish. Bad saucissons? Or something more worrisome? He's been plagued by various aches and pains lately, a little bit of la crise de foie, perhaps?

IMG_5791 clown

He feels a strange swelling on his lower lip. Non! Not a cold sore, not on the afternoon of the monthly project status meeting. He has so many important things to say today, so many persons to impress and to humiliate, and it will look so, hein, disgusting really, if he suffers a break-out at this moment.

He heads to the lavatory and looks in the mirror.

Sacre Bleu! My God! What eez eet?

IMG_5791 clownboils, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Yes, he's been struck by the Plague of Boils*.

IMG_7313 boils puppet, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Quel horreur! La hônte! Oh, ze shame of eet!

* Thanks go once again to Steamy, without whom this pestilence would not be possible.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Play Therapy: The Plague

Well, and just when expateek thought she'd about run out of wicked things to say about le French boss of the bad news!

Just when she thought she'd turned into JC, with all that turning of the other cheek business!

Or into Gandhi, with his peaceful, non-violent approach to strife!

Or into the Buddha, (not saying anything about the Buddha's weight problem, which expateek seems to share at the moment), but rather about the Buddha's letting go of anger stuff.

Just when y'all thought that expateek was just about right in the head, guess what came in the mail the other day? Go on, guess! Ha, time's up, slow-poke.

Yes, in the mail was the fabulouso fantastico prize from Steamy! And little did Steamy know that she was inadvertently feeding expateek's sick addiction to violent role-playing games.

So, yes, readers reader, look what expateek won. Isn't it AMAZING?

IMG_7305 plagues, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

These will be just perfect for enacting play-revenge on le French boss of the bad news, who thoughtlessly and cruelly forced expateek to once again up sticks and move countries, from Poland to the US. Damn and blast him!

So let's try out one of the 10 plagues on le boss. Here he is, all healthy and happy, strolling down a verdant boulevard in Rueil-Malmaison, just outside of Paris. Ah, les fleurs! Les oiseaux! [Ze flowers! Ze birds!] His life is so relaxed, so lovely, as he mulls over what kinds of fresh and unreasonable demands he can make upon his minions.

IMG_5791 clown

But attends! Look! What is this?

IMG_7308 blood, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Why, it is one of the Biblical plagues, right here on this lovely French side-street. And it is... the Plague of Blood!

Argh! Pffft! Guh! Mon Dieu!

IMG_5791bloodboss, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

My God, I am stricken! Ze plague! I die!

Ooooh. That was effective, though a bit too quick and efficient for expateek's tastes. She wonders which of the plagues offers a slower and more painful death. Lice sounds nice and itchy. Perhaps she'll try that one next.

Meanwhile, ta ta for now. expateek has some important things to do.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why? Why?

Of course, expateek did promise those incriminating photos today.

Never one to disappoint, she's happy embarrassed to show you what she forgot to toss seven years ago. Because she was very very busy totally lazy that long-ago summer, many many useless items were wrongly packed and stored somewhere in the greater Chicago area for almost a decade (expateek likes to round up, for effect).

Here are things that should have been spending the same seven years in a landfill somewhere.

First. Cords.

IMG_7300 cords, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Actually, these are useful, and will save expateek a lot of grief when she finally gets all her euro electrical plugs sorted out.

Maybe. If she can figure out to what these cords should attach.

Next up? Mysterious notes written by 9th graders.

IMG_7285 park note, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.


Firstly: dreadful grammar. D+ for grammar.

And a Mexican park? What child in this family has been to Mexico? No one.

A- for imagination, perhaps.

Next, expateek has ... vintage calendar refrigerator magnets!

IMG_7291 old calendar magnets, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Once again, you know you're sick with envy, but expateek is, sadly, unwilling to share these treasures. Probably because Mr D's already thrown them out while she wasn't looking.

And then it's on to the consumables. Of course expateek stored some food! Of course! Why not? You know those expiry dates are meaningless. Come on, be brave and come over to expateek's tomorrow night for a snack of...

IMG_7201 goldfish and cheerios, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

seven-year-old Pepperidge Farm goldfish! And Cheerios! Yummmmmmmy. She's serving them up in a bin-liner. (The bin liner is clean, by the way. Manufactured in 2009, so it's totally sanitary.)

They look completely normal, don't they? Come on, just one bite. expateek wants to see what happens.

Oh fine, be that way.

If you like, expateek could whip up some toast. She's got some jelly here somewhere. Ah, yes, here it is.

IMG_7297 mint jelly, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

What kind of jelly? Why, it's mint, since you ask. Oh yes, all the popular Brits are having mint jelly on toast these days. It's the latest thing in London. Or Bracknell perhaps. Anyway.

The date? Oh gosh, let expateek check.

IMG_7299 closeup jelly label, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Hmmm. expateek thinks jellies and suchlike get better with age, don't you? Kind of like wines, she read it in a magazine somewhere, perhaps.

But speaking of wine, look what Mr D found!

IMG_7280 wine from 2000, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Possibly 10-year-old homemade cherry wine, created in a flurry of creativity by Mr D ages and ages ago. Cellared for now 10 years!

Watch as the wine is decanted and poured.

IMG_7282 wine/cherry, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Hmmm. Looks fine.

Nice and dry. Colour's still good. Clear, pleasant taste.

An, best of all, expateek and Mr D are still alive and kicking the next morning.

Apparently, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Or so they say.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hello Ma'am? We got yer 17 tonnes o' stuff

Oh yes. You knew it was coming, and so did expateek.

She wept quietly in the corner of the rented Schaumburg flat every so often, but there was nothing to be done. She and Mr D were moving back into their long-owned house in the more southerly western suburbs, and so four lorries truckloads full of expateek's worldly goods were doomed to show up on her old homestead's doorstep eventually.

There was the shipping container from Poland/South Africa/England -- all the stuff that expateek had dragged along with her, from continent to continent to continent, for seven long short years abroad. That amounted to two quick truckloads.

And there was the mystery container, full of the things that expateek had deemed worthy of storage for rather a long time. Another two truckloads.

A week ago Monday, the thrills began.

Look, as the moving men come to expateek's street.

They stretch their legs, and have a smoke, as they wait to begin their difficult task. Ever tried to put 17 tonnes of sh** into a 12 oz. sock? Yes, these men know it will not be easy.

After the unloading of the first, Polish shipment, expateek and Mr D rested for a few days, and expateek wondered why she'd been worried. After all, there was still quite a lot of room in the house, and she hadn't stored that much extra stuff... Victory was nigh! Things were all going so well!

And then the second shipment arrived.

Put it there. No, there. Oh, that corner's full? Maybe there. No? Uhhh..... Maybe if you move the extra bookcases from here to there? No? How about there to here? No? Upstairs? No? Basement?

Gosh, sorry guys. This is terrible.

Okay then. The garage. There must be room there?



Meanwhile, expateek is dealing with her inner b**ch as she picks packing stickers off every d*mn thing in the house.




She's surprised she hasn't found one of these blasted things on her a*se.

Oh wait, she has.

No, really, she hasn't.

Totally NOT skin-of-the-a*se. Though clearly, this skin could use a good exfoliating treatment.

Skin of the mid-thigh, people. Don't get all excited. And send me some moisturising creme, pronto.

And tomorrow?

expateek will show you the things that shouldn't have been packed 7 years ago.

Like, really.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fashion Forward

Gaw, expateek's finally figured it out!

The real reason that le French boss of the bad news decided to return Mr D to the USA from Warsaw!

Not because Polish sales results were fantastic for 2008. Though they were.

Not because everyone in Poland really liked Mr D. Though they did.

Not because the global economy demanded that cost-cutting solutions be initiated. Though it was true.

No, in fact, it's because Mr D threatened the fragile sense of self-worth of le French boss of the bad news.

Because frankly, people, Mr D is too fashion-forward, even for the French, who have been left behind in the dust, shaking their heads in despair.

"Jacques! Marc! Jean-Paul! Why can we not be as formidable as Monsieur D? Why are we but pale, out-of-date shadows of this great man?"

"Ah, Michel, I am afraid, eet ees ze glasses. Once again, he has made fools of us with his early adoption of the latest fashion trends. How could we be so slow, mes amis? Eet is a good thing we have sent him back to ze States. He makes us all look terrible! La hônte! Ze shame! We may nevair recover!

Et voilà. Here is Monsieur D, in all his scintillating glory.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Crank it up - with better fatality photos!

So, expateek is cranky, and what's new?

She hasn't been blogging, but instead she's been wasting her time sending emails to old friends who can't be arsed to reply. At all.

So she'll be back to blogging, as of tomorrow. Even if you guys don't comment (the "whinge of the week", apparently, but don't look to me for complaining, cuz I just don't complain, I'm too nice, doncha know?) at least expateek can see that you've been by. She's got those nice widgets that track your every move. (No, don't turn and look. I've got you on videocam!) (You look cute, don't worry, and there's no pepper in your teeth and your pants are tucked in....)

And she'll clue you up tomorrow as to why she's been so out-of-touch. It's not the turquoise lapping oceanic lure of the BVI, even though that's a nice excuse. No, more like, re-entry into the land that time forgot -- insertion of all items from European cargo ship into smallish home in suburban Chicago....

Meanwhile, something from an Oregonian darling who does write me, off and on...

Breaking news.... Celebrity swine flu fatality.

And we all knew who gave it to him!


Friday, May 8, 2009

Girls' Pirate Club

Well, expateek's back from her seafaring adventures in the British Virgin Islands, and there was nary a pirate to be seen! No one fell overboard, just a few things got dropped into the deep blue sea, and expateek only cracked her head/legs/arms on various parts of the boat (hatch, grill, stays, wheel, doors, chart table) a few times per day hour.

While she was taking it easy,

IMG_7061 bvi hammock, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

and ignoring the internet for a week, things were still happening in the rest of the world, so you can imagine how surprised expateek was to come home to find she'd been a featured blogger on iambossy's Virtual Peek! Check out the link here.

And thanks, Bossy!