One of the things I love about Nutella, beside the taste of course, is that if you buy the smaller pot, you get a drinking glass free. That concept existed for as long as I can remember back in Switzerland, not only did Nutella come in one, but also mustard and mayonnaise, and I grew up with drinking glasses that came for free as my mom didn’t quite trust us with her tall fancy water glasses, and back when I was a toddler, plastic cups were not really the thing.
Anyway, when I first spotted some Nutella in India a few years ago, it was coming only in the big jar, then saw some smaller pack coming in the drinking glass, but they had a different designs, I no longer have any of these because they all broke. But with Ishita being like most kids and enjoying Nutella, and my knowing my willpower is only as tiny as the size of the jar, I buy them in small jars like the one above, less temptation to use heaps on some bread that way.
As a result we have quite a few of these drinking glass in the cabinets, which works great because or me, or Ishita, or the maid end up breaking one on occasion, and the fact that the glass container came free with 125 rupees worth of nutty chocolaty goodness goo means I won’t get too mad at whoever broke it (including myself…and yes I can get mad at myself too).
The drinking glass in question is rather utilitarian and minimalist in design (the ones from my childhood were a bit fancier looking with a carved bottom), but because of that bare minimalistic look they are great to work with when you get into a crafty mode.
A week or so ago I purchased some Turquoise glass paint from the brand Pebeo because I had another craft project using it I planned to work on. And decided that while I had such a big quantity of paint left I might as well put it to some good use doing another glass painting project as well.
All you need to turn your simple glasses into something less boring is some glass paint (any brand will do, it just happened I had some Pebeo one on hand, you don’t have to break the bank on it if you find a hue you like in another local brand like pidilite) and of course some 3D liner Acrylic paint, pidilite does that one under their “Hobby Ideas” label, it comes in many shades, with glitter or without glitter, and is known more as a fabric paint to people around here, but it is an all surface acrylic paint and works on glass just as well. For this project I used the gold paint without glitter and light blue glittery paint variant.
And then just let your imagination run wild really, I painted with the glass paint first, let it dry overnight and then used the 3D liner paint to finish the glasses. The paints are all water resistant and soap resistant, just make sure you do not scrub the glasses as you wash them, the 3D liner has a tendency to chip if treated too harshly, the glass paint from Pebeo is far more durable as I know from experience (I used to paint with it back home often) but if scratched hard and long enough will start to go away.
Needless to say that the glasses are no off limit to my maid who can’t wash dishes without scrubbing the hell out of them with the scrubber part of the sponge. And my daughter just decided suddenly that she is too big for her plastic Winnie the Pooh glass, she now wants to drink from the pretty green glasses at all time, and because they are free Nutella glasses I let her do it, I can still pain some more later, and actually still have a few to prettify. That said I let Ishi drink from them, but I will never let her paint them until she is older, glass paint is designed not to come off easily, and only really wash away using turpentine, so definitely NOT something to leave around a messy toddler, since you could end up with a lot of stains.
About a week and a half ago I spotted a few rat poops along the window frame in our utility area, which we are usually good at closing at night (but not always). These poops alone were enough to give me nasty Navi Mumbai flashbacks of which I’ll go into details further down, because you see back in 2010 when we were living there one rat managed to go inside my washing machine from the bottom and find its way up and nibbled away components on the electronic control panel efficiently killing it and leaving us to wait for a month for the replacement part to come. So seeing rodent poops in the area where we keep the washing machine is now always a disturbing thing.
The first thing I did was check if any of the things that are edible or remotely edible in my kitchen were left alone, and thankfully the fruit basket didn’t suffer any attack, and there was not a sign of poop in the kitchen. From there I went straight to the kirana store and bought some rat poison and placed some behind the washing machine (out of reach of both dog and kiddo) where it stayed untouched for a week. Then suddenly last Wednesday the “rat cake” was gone and I knew it was just a matter of days before we or see a half dead rat coming out of somewhere or end up smelling a dead rat a week from then. To avoid both scenarios are they are both disgusting I started looking for signs of the rodent’s whereabouts, but could find none which was quite puzzling as they usually can’t hide their presence being rather chronic poop machines. The next morning I awoke to see a massive trail of poop all over my kitchen counter with a massive concentration of said crap under my gas stove…which was enough to turn me into a crime scene investigator. using deduction I figured out that from the stove the only way the rat could have gone hiding was using the gas pipe through the rather big gap in the back of the counter and down to where my cylinder is and where my maid decided to put a bag of old newspaper. And sure enough right behind the cylinder and the bag was a pile of poop, the remnant of the rat poison cake…but no rat! Darn! Looked around in all possible creases in the kitchen, pushed the washing machine around and tried to peek underneath, no trace of the rat, which didn’t even feel like going after the fruits still in the basket on the metallic shelves.
Left with quite a puzzler and enough poop to bring in diseases, I broke out the cleaning products and sponges, and started scrubbing the hell out of my kitchen counter, doused it in Domex for good measure, threw all the sponges used in the dustbin and went washing my hands with Dettol to make sure we would not get sick. The new plan being to put another piece of rat cake behind the stove and hope to get a better trail to follow the next morning. Friday morning comes and the rat cake crumbs were found behind my microwave oven, which I promptly lifted to check if a rat could hide underneath somewhere, nada…the rat poops were only on the kitchen counter and nowhere else, at this point DH joined me in my mad investigation and we tried to think like rats figuring out where that freaking rodent could possibly have gone, turns out we have too many brain cells to accurately think like a rat and never found him, and we both started to freak out at the prospect of finding a dead rat somewhere, after all the rat poison kills a rat in 3-4 days after the first ingestion and it had been feeding on it for 4 days already. And since the instruction on the pack says to keep replacing the eaten rat cakes until the feeding stops, that’s what we did Friday night. But this time I decided to catch that beast in the act, so by around 1.30 am I decided to go have my first look at the hot spot, turned out I lucked out, I switched on the lights and immediately heard a loud “tonk” from behind the microwave followed by a “clink” under the stove, and a nibbled rat cake in full sight.
Knowing from experience that these critters are super fast and need to be contained in one area, I closed the kitchen door and went to wake up DH so that we could if needed chase the rat around until it found its way out through a window somewhere. Re-entering the crime scene the first thing I saw was something climbing up a rod in the utility space, rushed there to find out that this rat was a badass fat huge one, to give you an indication of it’s size take an unsharpened pencil and you have the length of its body alone, then add the tail…yep that big! What surprised me even more than it’s size was the fact he managed to climb up a stainless steel rod used to operate the glass blades of a ventilation window close to the ceiling, and was clung to said glass blades in a Spiderman look alike pose, determined to stay there. I quickly opened the windows in that room, shut the door that connects the utility space to the kitchen after placing a rat cake on the window frame, shut all the windows and balcony door the rat could possibly find its way back in from and went to bed.
The next morning the rat cake was gone, and hopefully the rat with it. It’s been two nights now since then during which we have seen no sign of its presence and the rat poison bit I put near the washing machine is still intact. But then last night my washing machine started making a squeaky sound again, and we hope that in the few days our visitor clearly camped in our quarters he didn’t decide to eat a few wires in the way one of our many rodent visitor did in Navi Mumbai.
Because as stated before, we had more than one occurrence of rat related damage back when we were living there, one ate the fruits and bread in our kitchen night after night until we figured out what the problem was and acted on it, one ate the washing machine wires and the dustbin’s plastic parts. And a third one ate our fruits, furniture and went as far as the laundry basket to eat away stains on my period panties (too much info here? oh well my apologies). That’s back there that we found out our dog is not really that good a hunter and we had a few nights of our goof ball barking and chasing a dark grey blur around the flat with us frantically trying to restrain the dog and cornering the blurry thing in question. The interesting part was that before living in Navi Mumbai we were living in our favourite flat, the one on the rooftop of an independent house, where the like hood of ever seeing a rat would have been much higher, yet in 5 years living in that house we saw giant spiders, a baby squirrel that got lost and tried to escape our kitchen, monkeys, an occasional praying mantis, lizards and of course cockroaches by the plenty. Not a single rat had the idea to climb 3 stories up to our kitchen window that was opened most of the time, and it’s not that the neighbourhood was rat free, I saw them frequently in the gutter in the street, but clearly they were satisfied with garbage waste left to rot there rather than gourmet food straight from the kitchen.
In Mumbai not so much, rats are apparently a plague in the city and do not shy away from defying heights to find their food, that’s probably what led the one we had spotted a few days ago to climb all the way to the 3rd floor to find food. Probably staying away from the rat snakes you can find in the garden as well.
The good new is that I spotted a notice in our building lobby this Saturday announcing that a pest control company would be coming this Monday to treat the apartments against white ants and cockroaches and conduct a rodent treatment of the outdoor premises as well, this my dear is perfect timing!
This morning I let out a rant on my Facebook profile about how my maid is slacking more and more and is slowly gliding toward the ejector seat (more about it in another post one other day). And I would not have ranted if I weren’t already pissed of playing crime scene investigator finding rat poops all over my kitchen counter and a rat poison cake I set the other day completely eaten, at 6 in the morning. I never found the rat, cleaned the whole kitchen with Cif and Domex all that before my maid came.
Anyway one of my friends who lives in the US asked me why I don’t cook and clean myself. As you recall that is a question I get asked often by people who have never been in India and addressed this matter here.
As usual I found myself explaining the obvious about how things in India get dirty faster and all, and that got me thinking that for a person that has never been to India and lived there this is something though to grasp. You see there are so many things we take for granted in many western countries that the idea that some around the world do without or have to hire help for certain tasks seems odd. I could write a novel on it really, but I though I just list some of the things that simply do not exist or are done much differently here, so that my readers from abroad who’ve haven’t been to India can get an new insight.
- 24 hour hot water running in all your taps, now that is something people in Europe and US are totally used to, taking a shower or a bath is just a matter of undressing, turning the hot water on and voila. Dishes are washed with hot water in the sink too, dissolving the grease in pans easily with very little soap.
In India FORGET IT, if you want hot water you need or to boil it on the stove, or have a water heater installed on each individual pipes you want hot water to come out of, typically bathrooms are equipped in cities nowadays, but not always, and kitchens are usually never hooked to one as people don’t see the point, they have a maid to do the hard job of doing the dishes and they don’t care about making her life easier. If you come back from work and want a hot shower to relax and get rid of the dust and grime of one day of being out in polluted air, you need to switch on your heater, wait 10-15 minutes and then shower, and of course remember to switch off the heater or else your power bill will give you a heart attack.
- 24 hours uninterrupted power supply. In many western countries that means that if your power goes off that means there was a severe problem on the line, due to most of the time a natural disaster. In India if you live outside Mumbai which I hear is the only city with uninterrupted power supply, you will have to deal with load shedding, scheduled or not, in Bangalore it could go up to 4 hours a day without any electricity, add to this accidents, tree falling on the line every monsoon, and you could find yourself in the dark for quite some time. Recent apartment building have some sort of power back up, but you can run only certain appliances on it, and it doesn’t back up all plug point in your home. In Private homes you will have to purchase an inverter that can take the load of a few fans and a few lights. many houses still don’t have inverters though. No wonder that we all cook on gas still, you can’t plan your meal times around power cuts or you’ll go crazy.
- Efficient public transports, in Europe most cities have a solid reliable network of buses, train, tramways or metro lines, which are made user friendly for newcomers, and ship you from A to B in a relatively short time. In India the concept of Metro is just now coming with only Delhi and Bangalore having some operational Metro segments, Mumbai is planning one. Mumbai has a local train network that is well planned but saturated by an ever growing population, if you are new to the city you will probably not even make sense of it, and even with the local train going from A to B will just take you an eternity because the time you need to cover a distance in an European city might be multiplied by 5 or more in an Indian city due to poor road infrastructure and traffic. The result is that you are thinking twice about going anywhere…is spending 2 hours stuck in traffic worth visiting that one furniture shop I heard is great alone? Or shall I wait until I have something else to do in that area to bother…that’s the kind of question you will end up asking yourself in a city like Mumbai.
- This past few weeks I found myself scratching my head at the whole horse meat scandal in beef product in Europe. First because horse meat is yummy, then because I found it a bit amusing to have people protest the fact that their processed food item contained arggh an unwanted but totally edible other food product. I know it’s still sad because legislations and regulations have been poopooed, but living in India for so long I can tell you I’d rather have horse meat found in my beef lasagna than face the kind of food scam we in India are exposed to : unfit for consumption water found in milk packets (the milk supplier when packing his packs just cut the milk with dubious water to stretch his milk supply and make more money), dispersion paint, chalk paste, plaster of Paris found in milk based Sweets especially around Diwali (make triple the amount of sweets from the same amount of milk solids), rat meat found in vegetable biryani on Indian railway prepared food…get it? We might all end up eating toxic waste of the truly inedible type on a daily basis in India. How does that horse meat lasagna sound now?
- A legal system that stands up and protect you, you get wronged in many places in the western world and you have the justice on your side, you have laws that are here to protect you and implemented as much as possible, there are regulations for everything, including clarity of what goes in your food as mentioned above. In India you can try getting justice, it will take about 15 years or more to get it for a simple infraction omitted toward you, or you might even end up being laughed in your face and told you asked for it if said offense you are trying to get Justice for is a rape case….darn lady what were you doing out of the kitchen to begin with?
The legal system in India is like all governmental things: CORRUPTED, you get nowhere without bribes being paid, you can bed the law and get away with it if you have money, and just cry and bear with it if you are poor. It’s a democracy with a set of laws and a penal code on paper, in practice it’s the law of the Jungle, only the fittest…err most powerful and rich survive.
- Organic food and environment friendly cleaning product, it’s just somewhat starting now, reserved to an elite that can afford paying double the price for their dal and vegetables. The normal vegetables might actually contain even more toxic stuff than the non-organic ones found back home, because..yup you got it…no regulation on pesticide in the country. Cleaning products that respect your environment aren’t even as widespread as organic lentils.
- Kid safe play rides at the playground. That one I had people pointing to me how this and that slide my daughter was seen playing on would be banned back home for lack of safety. Agreed, 100% the problem is that..yup again…no regulation. In fact just having a place to play outdoor is considered a luxury in India, public gardens that are well kept are a rarity in most cities, apartment buildings societies generally invest in a few swing sets and monkey bars, but don’t necessarily see the point of maintaining them or making sure they even meet any safety guidelines, gives you 5-6 ft high slides with no edges from which the child might fall, sharp edges, chipping paint, rusted parts…A state of the art play set made of safe material is more often than not still imported, cost a fortune and in this harsh climate might not even last as long as in other place. In the end better to count your blessing and be grateful you have a playground to take your kiddos to play to. Many don’t have this luxury.
Right now that’s all those I can think of, to list and I will stop there not to end up writing that novel I was mentioning, but if you are a frequent reader of my blog, you probably know what I am talking about. And if you haven’t checked the blog’s facebook page, do it already, I put pictures of my home and surroundings frequently enough.
It might be PMS and maybe just maybe this time not completely, but my level of tolerance for stupid excuses and general BS is starting to shrink even faster than before. And what sparked this blog entry is just what happened a few minutes ago.
For the past year and a half that Ishita has been attending her playschool I abided by the rule that is clearly stated in the school’s diary: Arrange for your child to be punctual and be at school 10 minutes before the start of the classes. To me this is a no brainer, because punctuality is quintessential where I come from and yes students should be on time (even rebellious teens like I was who tried to pull the late arrival card only to get detention). Until today no one blinked, she was on time, and they let her play in the reception’s play area where day care kids and kids coming early play daily. This morning the new school coordinator who got promoted a mere few months ago from the position of assistant teacher told me on a stern tone that bringing my daughter at 10.52 instead of 11 when the class does actually start is too early and I should stop doing it.
I don’t know about you, but really, isn’t that a way of promoting late arrival as the only proper thing to do? no wonder India is running on stretchable time and think rules and law can be bent, it starts with playschool staff telling you to stop bringing your kid on time, and disregard the rule book they themselves drafted.
I would have been almost accommodating if at the end of the first term of this academic year the entire staff of teacher didn’t choose to leave the school without noticing the parents and let us realise by ourselves that our kiddos were attended by rookie teachers that didn’t even feel the need to introduce themselves and had no idea whose kid belonged to who at pick up time. Where I come from teachers are on a contract for a year and stick to it, you don’t abandon kiddos mid year like that and let them cope with new teachers, especially when they are that young, and not without letting the parents know what is going on. The only one that stayed with the school is the teacher assistant I mentioned who suddenly got promoted to school principal position due to the lack of other people familiar with the school. And she has the guts to tell me after 1.5 years of me making sure my daughter follows the rule book that I am bringing her too early? I pointed that the school never had a problem with that before to her on an assertive tone (calm and polite but assertive) only to see her yield and suddenly say it was fine then. Me on the other hand…well I am glad she will be in another full fledged school next year and no longer in a playschool operated from an apartment which seems to be more and more interested in making money than caring for the kids properly (they were fine last year and that was the reason I chose to continue with them).
But that event is not the isolated case of me tolerating less crap from the people that are in the first place supposed to provide a service to me.
A few month back I was trying a new eatery at the mall, a place where they claim their Italian food is good and authentic, while I was certainly not fooling myself on the gimmick line to attract people, I decided to try it just because it was new and I like trying new things. Anyway it didn’t take me more than a minute that this place despite being an international franchise, was not at par with the standards of international service, they were all pretty clueless, and when I went at the cash counter to place my order and pay, I asked for a combo meal and when the guy asked which drink I wanted with it I asked for a diet Pepsi because well being insulin resistant to begin with, consuming a drink that contain so much sugar is idiotic and Ishita kept asking for coke too (otherwise I would have gone for water). the guy cash in, gives me my receipt and I hand it to the lady in charge of putting the order together, only to realise that what was printed on the receipt was not what I told the guy, so I had to start by telling her to not give me the cannelloni but the lasagna, and then she brings me a plastic cup filled from the soda fountain with 7 Up in it, I corrected her again saying that I asked for a diet coke, and she told me promptly that I cannot have it on the combo meal because diet Pepsi is not in the fountain and only fountain drinks can be part of the combo meal and that if I want a diet Pepsi I would have to go and buy an extra one. I pointed out that the person at the cash counter didn’t tell me so, and she says that “it is what it is” so I instead tell her to give me a glass of water her reply “No ma’am we don’t offer water on the combo meal because you have to purchase it in a bottle”. At this point I was miffed at the lack of service so took my assertive tone again pointing out that in a country often called the diabetes capital of the world it is unacceptable to only serve high on sugar soft drinks as the only option on a combo meal, and that there are some people that can’t handle that much sugar in their diet. Loud enough that other could hear, she tried to tell me that it was still how it was, but under the stares of now many people around her, relented to give me my can of diet Pepsi (which by the way was the same size in content as the 7 Up she served me against my choice first). I ate the food, which was really not good enough for me to ever want to brave the crappy service they offered ever again…if they offered good service I might have come back, but not under these circumstances…sorry.
And in the list of memorable and recent events still, I had to go buy a gift for one of Ishi’s friend who is throwing her birthday party this week, not finding anything good locally I headed to the mall, which landed me in Shopper’s Stop. I pay for the toy, go down two floors to go to the gift wrap station, the lady simply tell me to pick any of the paper on display without adding anything else, Ishita pick a purple one, we get it gift wrapped and the lady tells me “20 rupees please”….arr uph…what??? I pointed out to her that a few weeks ago I came and it was free (which is true by the way) and she goes on telling me only the 3 papers in the back are free all the others are against payment. I point out that this is the kind of things you tell BEFORE asking the customer to make a choice, not after, she doesn’t even say “Sorry my mistake” just “Ma’am you have to pay”…the hell I don’t and I tell her that I will not pay and she might as well call the manager down so I can clear things off. At this point she is starting to be nervous, very nervous, and still try again to make me pay, seeing that I will not do it, reluctantly goes to the phone to call him. A few minutes later a nice very polite guy comes to me and first apologise for his taking so much time to come down to meet me, and then ask me what the problem is since the lady didn’t. I calmly explain the thing to me with the gift wrap lady shooting me dark stares. The manager profusely apologised to me and told me that I didn’t have to pay and he would talk to the gift wrap lady about how she should tell people which papers are free and which are not beforehand. I then nicely suggested to him that maybe to avoid this whole confusion they could perhaps put a sign telling customers about the paper fees, and he agreed that it was a good suggestion (I know they might not follow through though but still). The funny bit though comes a day after the incident, DH and I had to go back to the mall to get an AC unit for our bedroom yesterday as the temps are showing clear signs of warm up in Mumbai. While we were there Ishita needed to use the bathroom, and guess who was in the door frame when I opened the door? Yup gift wrap lady, and she must have recognised me too because she shot me a stare and pushed through the door knocking me lightly in the process. I let it slide because at this point her behaviour is ridiculous, she made a mistake, caught in the act by one lady that refused to be taken advantage of and the adult and professional behaviour would have been to stand corrected and let it glide. I know her job sucks, I know the pay sucks, hey I did the same kind of uber crappy shitty jobs in my years too. I did serve food in a canteen, been a promotion lady for laundry detergent in supermarkets, a concession corner attendant at football matches, I even scrubbed dirty dishes clean in a hospital kitchen. The point is that at the end of the day, money earned is still money earned that will pay your bills, and that you do whatever you can to do so and survive because nothing in life is free, and just because you think your job sucks doesn’t mean you are entitled to be less than professional at it and rude. Especially NOT in the retail and service field…And I have been in that field all my professional life.
And last but not least on the recent BS-o-meter surge, my maid, who was as you recall perfect and professional before. Well no longer, she changed overnight after we moved to our new place, she first started by asking 100 rupees a month extra just for climbing up the hill to our new place…a mere 10 minutes walk, that is in no way challenging physically, but apparently warrant a hike in salary. DH did agree without problem, while I was left with my eyes popping out, considering she is already bagging a generous amount of money as her standard fee in our place, and doesn’t even have to cook a full meal daily as there are often leftovers from the day before. But hey fine our new flat has one extra room, so 100 bucks be it. I’m not totally un-fine with it, as she doesn’t mop properly any longer, you see our new lace has some old un-glossy marble so the dirt will show up less fast to an untrained eye than in our old place, so she just mops twice as fast as she used to in a flat that is bigger than the old one and think she can get away with it. She never took into account that I have a keen eye and the first time I pointed it out to her she tried pretending these stains where old stains and would never come off, she was defeated when I took the mop broom from her and applied a tiny amount of pressure on the stick and pushed it over the stain…poof and it was history! She silently went back to her chores, made an effort and 3 days later went back to her old ways, pretending then that I ran out of floor cleaner…for the 3rd time I opened the cabinet in the kitchen were the cleaner was only to see the look of astonishment on her face, as if she never ever got that piece of information, and it went on a couple of more time, until she decided my mop broom was no longer good and went with a normal mop, still leaving stains of course, and me to point it out each time and her to shrug. Last week I caught her pouring a generous amount of dish wash drops into the mop water. Alarmed I asked her what was going on, and she replied that I didn’t have floor cleaner, to which I opened the cabinet for her to see that my bottle of Domex, the same she used in our old flat was still there. She had the audacity to tell me that the domex was for the bathroom, pointing that the picture on the bottle showed a toilet…yes because using a bottle that shows a plate and a drinking glass is totally ok to clean the floor…I get the logic here.
She is taking leaves all the time, half the time the dishes aren’t done properly and just this week I saw she used the dish sponge to scrub some dirt somewhere else considering how many dogs hair was stuck on it, but she still thought it was fine to use to wash more dishes instead of asking for a new one! Both DH and I are fed up with her and the only thing that is stopping us from firing her so far is the fact that training a new maid might prove to be even worse for our nerves. Right now we just clean behind her, while I toy with the idea of just doing without a maid once and for all, proper cleaning tools are becoming more common which could slash the daily amount of time it takes to clean a house in India in half, especially with the new steam mops I saw on online shopping sites…I’m just a few couple of thousands bucks short of seeing it as a good investment.
All in all I am fed up with the whole art of finding excuses to mediocrity around here. There, said it and got it off my chest…wew.
Keeping kids entertained and busy in India usually means shelling a good chunk of money as free activities are few and hard to find. Most apartment buildings have a small playground, but that gets boring for both the kiddos and parents very fast, plus in Mumbai that means that a solid chunk of the year it’s usable only in the evenings when the temperature become somewhat bearable. There are few public gardens in in some area, but the problem is the same as above when it comes to heat, with the added burden of being constantly harassed by hawkers in some places.
If you want to keep a kid occupied, or you end up in shopping malls, which have kids play areas, or go to a entertainment center which is anyway or near a mall or inside a mall. I end up taking Ishita to the mall on a mommy-daughter date once or twice a month on these Saturdays that DH spend in office, it never fails, it cost 60 rupees to get there by auto, it cost us 200 bucks to go on the electric train circling an entire floor (the latest addition to mall entertainment), then we spend about 300-400 bucks on lunch, and while we went all the way to the mall we might as well go buy something (most of the time it’s books which I have no objection spending money on), then stop for coffee and cake which sets use another 150-200 bucks, and then it’s back home in the auto and another 60 rupees…you do the math. The idea is to at least be out of the house and away from the idiot box, which sadly is pretty much the only free thing kids around here can get busy with on a hot day and by far my absolute least favourite.
In Switzerland, it’s not really Summer that is a problem climate wise, so we do go out to the lake, on picnics and to the park then, it’s the rest of the year that is punctuated by too many wet days (it rains a lot back home, year round) and Winter is the most boring of all season where kids need as much entertainment as possible to prevent them from going hyper inside. Libraries are always a good option, not just to borrow books which by the way is possible in India, but because most libraries in Switzerland are free, and the kid zone has comfy sofas, toys and often a library hour story telling time. Then there are kids friendly exhibits in museums that could keep them entertained for an hour. Then if the sun decides to be nice and peak through the fog, the park and playground is still an option with a ritual stop into one of the many independently owned cafes where the kiddos will drink a hot chocolate while the parents find comfort in a cup of tea or coffee (Switzerland is not hot on franchise coffee chains and people never heard of a latte until Starbucks came after I left for India, and is still not hugely popular). And if one must stay at home, then there are many board games, and craft supplies stores to remedy to pending boredom.
Board games for toddlers is tricky in India, there isn’t as much as what I remember from back home, though thanks to Flipkart there is a change in this department. you can’t get a toddler to stay focus on a board game more than 15 minutes or so, so these games need to be fun, quick and enticing. Big size pieces jigsaw puzzles will work, but you better have more than one because you are as a parent likely to get bored doing the airplane puzzle over and over before your tot thinks it’s dull. Memory games are fine too, but don’t start with the whole set, especially if your little hurricane is not the super patient type, they will want to win, and if they spend too much time flipping cards to find the match they will loose their attention span. Then there are more action-y type games like tumbling Monkeys and Hungry Hippos, these are sure to keep your active toddler happy, as long as you do not try to enforce the rule to the T, because in Tumbling monkey it’s preventing the monkeys to fall that is stated as the rule with the one making them fall being the looser, except that the fun part to a 3 year old is PRECISELY to get them to fall.
Craft projects for kids is a bit more tricky in India, very few stores sell all the craft supplies you need in one place, so it’s better to keep a stash at home and buy as you find them rather than as you need them. Aim for well stocked stationary shops for all your cardboard, glue, and paint, and check regularly for things such as glitter, googly eyes, speciality paint and paper. Again Flipkart comes to the rescue for a lot of things. Then you need the inspiration, craft project magazines haven’t made an entry there yet that I know of, so sign up to Pinterest and start browsing and pinning ideas to get you inspired.
Yesterday was a school day off for Ishita, and that meant I had the lovely task of keeping her busy at home as we went to the mall as a family on Saturday and there was no way I would want to do that again so soon. And the idea of having her glued to the TV the whole day was really irking me. We ended up lining the dining table with newspapers, taking the pain out and pulling one pinterest pinned idea as our craft project of the day, and this is what the final product looked like :
Egg cartons turned into boats, now the original craft picture I pinned on my pinterest board was a fancy one with little flags and all, but or the project had been made by a grown up, or by an older kid. When you get a 3.5 year old to do it you end up with a funky looking one and you keep the flag ornaments away, Ishita was far more interested in painting the bottom of her boat than the inside which is why hers looks so plain on the picture, then we made sails out of coloured paper and pasted it to a drinking straw and planted them in the boat shells and voila we have two mighty boats that kept her busy for an hour, and then some more when she put her plastic figurine toys in them and the plastic fishes she has around them, turning my coffee table into an ocean. A nap, a few stories read from books and a trip to the playground completed the program of the day. With TV being just a early morning and evening thing.
I have fishes made out of all CD and coiled snakes out of kitchen paper roll lined up as the next craft projects for a day spent at home, since the weather is still nice we still try to go to the playground as long as possible after school these days, but Summer is fast approaching and I will need to stock up on ideas that do not break the bank.
Granola bars are one of these supermarket aisle essentials for fast paced people back home, and the ultimate sporty weekend energy supplement. In my family they weren’t really the breakfast staple until I was a typical teenager struggling to get out of bed on time in the morning and rushing to school on my bicycle hoping to make it to my class before the bell rang, but they were in our back pack when we went skiing and mountain hiking, two activities my family was really into came the weekend, both are high energy burning burning enough that we could use the high calories energy bars to keep us going.
In India they came quite recently, and I bought a box here and there, especially when travelling because it’s a convenient packaged food that is still a tad better than wolfing down a pack of chips, at least it has some fibre if nothing else, and it fits in a purse.
Now Granola is actually very easy to make, it’s oats baked with a form of unrefined natural sugar or another and some oil, you add up whatever nuts and fruits you want to it to vary the taste. I never thought of making my own until recently, first because I only really crave the thing in Winter, and then because it slipped my mind, until one of the blog I read regularly posted a recipe that brought back granola to my mind. That lady’s recipe involves maple syrup and pecan nuts. now that is one version I would love to try one day, but pure maple syrup is super costly in India, and so are pecan nuts if you are lucky ton find unsalted pecans in the amount required in the first place as these are products that aren’t local. However all types or nuts are easily available, and so is honey, coconut oil as used in the original recipe is a common sight too, though if you are new to India and reading this, don’t go looking for it in the oil section at the grocery store, coconut oil is found in the hair product section at is is more commonly used for a head massage than to cook with. It’s probably not the healthiest oil to consume either but it gives a nice taste to the granola.
The granola you see in my picture is made as follow:
3 cups regular oats (quaker oats)
1 cup chopped almonds with skin
1 cup chopped cashew nuts
1/4 of a cup flax seeds
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil and a pinch of salt
I mixed all the dry ingredients including the salt in a big mixing bowl, then I put the honey and oil on the stove in a pan to heat briefly (do not boil) so that the honey liquefy a little and mixes with the oil, then you pour your honey mix on the dry ingredients and combine until all the dry stuff is coated. Preheat your oven at 150 degrees Celsius and spread the mix on or non-stick baking trays or trays covered in baking parchment (I use steel plates you commonly find n every store in India). Since my oven is small and the mix should not be too thickly spread I use 3 plates. Bake each bath for about 12-15 minutes until golden brown. At this point when you’ll take it out of the oven it will still be soft, it’s NORMAL, it only hardens once it’s cool so leave it on the hot tray the whole time as the heat from the tray will continue baking and drying your granola.
If you plan to make bars, you need to cut the granola straight out of the oven so that once it cools down you will just have to snap the rectangles. If like me in this picture you want granola chunks you can munch on during the day or put in your cereals in the morning, just break it in small bits with your hand once it has completely cooled down. In both cases store in an airtight container. It will last as long as any regular store bought cereals, but I can assure you that the shelf life of the finished product is pretty much an non issue. Your big problem will be to stop munching on it, and a batch such at this one last 3-4 days max, which is much much faster than it takes to actually spoil.
If you plan to add dry fruits such as raisins, you will need to soak them in water first, as raising baked in the oven from their usual dry fruit state turn rock hard and bitter.
The great thing with granola is that you can use your imagination as of what goes in along with the oats, you can even add spices to the mix to give a different flavour. And since the Indian cousin of granola is chikki, you can use jaggery in the recipe above too, it so happen that I love the taste of honey better than the one of jaggery, but substituting one with the other is totally possible.
Our new apartment is in a building that has a very green park and playground, and a lot of vegetation and trees behind the boundary wall it is set against. I always imagined there would be a few reptiles of a sort or another, as there is more than enough rats, birds and other small critters for them to feast upon, and I finally got to meet one two days ago:
I was playing with Ishita at the playground when suddenly one of the many green parrots in the area sounded way louder and nearer that usual. Sure enough it was at my eye level in a nearby palm tree squeaking loudly at something. I found that odd, because first I’ve never seen these birds fly so low and go in the trees in our park that close to the ground, then because the squeaks it emitted were sounding very aggressive. And then it caught my attention, something shiny was slithering on the ground, took me about a second to realise that it was a snake and a few seconds more to go from shock to fascination (no not scared at all). I took my camera and captured this picture. keeping my distance even then because the snake looked like it fell down there and was trying to find a way back up, I didn’t want to piss it off more than he probably was already.
At first glance it looked like a common rat snake, I remembered it from the snake park in Chennai and more recently in Pune…why do I remember this one you may ask? Well first thing is that it’s one of the many non venomous snakes you will find in India. India has over 200 different species of snakes, and about 90% of them are non-venomous to human, the rat snake doesn’t even have venom glands at all. So the reason I remembered it is that it was one of the non dangerous kind, and also listed as one of the most common snake around and the one urbanite like me are more likely to see around their home. The other reason I remember it is that it’s long but slender and was described as eating mice, rats and small birds, and that fascinated me considering that snake has a small head but an even more tiny super narrow neck…not exactly the type of snake you would imagine could kill and eat a rat!
So being definitely not scared by the fact there was a snake at the playground, I didn’t leave, I continued playing with Ishita, I even pointed the snake to her since she likes them too, she was a bit scared, but fascination was stronger, so she perched herself on top of the slide to observe it and commented that the snake was outside the “zoo zoo”, and the next morning even told DH about the snake in the garden.
I confirmed it was a rat snake later that evening googling it, and even pieced together as of why the snake suddenly found itself on the ground in the garden in a matter of seconds.
See while rat snake prefer rodents, they are not against eating bird eggs and small birds as well. They are good tree climber on top of being speedy on land and in the water. What probably happened is that it seems the parrots in the area are nesting or mating, the snake must have tried going after a nest, one adult parrot got pissed and attacked the snake, dropping it on the ground in our park and squeaking at it some more before flying away. It probably found a way back up the wall later as it slithered away in some tall bushes before we left the park.
DH pointed out that it was good that Ishita was afraid of going near but still fascinated enough to look. She was so exited about both snakes on TV and in the zoo that he wondered if the day she would see a live one in its natural habitat she might want to go after it….after all one of her three favourite stuffed animal is long, big and blue :
I’m a tea person, as stated several time on this blog and went into details in this post.
For years I used to simply put my cup of water in the microwave, and heat it, before that I used the pan on the stove but about half the time I end up forgetting I put water to boil and come back to the kitchen 2-3 hours later to see the pan heated white and dry, so it’s definitely not a good thing. Back when I was a kid my parents had a stove top kettle that just whistled when the water was hot, I loved that thing. As I grew older we replaced the “Caldor” as my mom called it with an electric tea kettle, in the nick of time too because I was starting to appreciate tea. I was a teenager, developing my individual taste for hot beverages, while most of my peers will claim coffee is their favourite (more socially acceptable it seems) I never really hid the fact that I far prefer a cup of tea, I will drink coffee on occasion, but it’s not my thing at all. I can totally live without an espresso machine at home, or even without a pot of coffee, but I can’t live without a tea bag lying around, and last year I decided that enough was enough and I needed to get myself an electric kettle again, so I browsed flipkart and got myself this one:
I picked it up more because it was cute than anything else, it was cheap too, which I thought would not hurt, and Prestige is a brand well known enough in India. To be fair it was a good kettle, heated water fast, easy to clean…the only problem is that it hasn’t been designed for heavy tea drinkers like me, at least not the heavy “dip tea” drinker. 6-7 months later I killed it, and that was last week, 2 days before DH made it back from Bangalore at a time I needed it the most.
But I knew it would come, because a week before that the seal around the pink water level window cracked and the kettle leaked, but in desperate need of my kettle I just fixed it with a little M-seal. And it would have been fine if it was not the auto-shut mechanism that gave away a week later. I was sick and when I boiled the water the night before I lifted it off the base when the water was boiling furiously pretty sure that the switch went off as it usually does when the water boils so loudly, poured myself my cup of herbal tea and went to bed…the usual. Except that this time around the kettle didn’t stop heating, it heated all night long, by the morning it’s passing next to it that alerted me something was wrong as the air around it was way too warm. By then the circuit had fried of course and it was off, and the plastic was cracked all over from the heat.
Clearly my heating the kettle 5-6 times a day led to far more wear and tear than it would with a regular moderate user in mind, which led me to re-think the plastic body idea. All my kettles in Switzerland over the years were plastic too, but they last longer and thinking of it now, are of far better quality because people use them more, even if drinking tea at a cafe is considered odd, it’s pretty much part of our evening routine, when the typical cheese and bread dinner is topped with a cup of tea-less fruit infusion (you will find a lot of variety in that department in my homeland), young adults living on their own for the first time use them to heat the water for their instant Nescafé coffee before they graduate to an espresso maker and because people are so used to these, they will not really tolerate devices that break down under the heat after 6 months.
Since I’m really not sure about plastic quality in other brands, and just can’t justify paying 4-5k on an imported kettle, I decided to go for a steel body :
It was actually an imported model, but thanks to Flipkart discounting it at 56% off made it very affordable (same price as the Prestige one), I would have gone for the local brands, but the only ones available in steel were from brands I knew I could not trust due to bad experiences with other small kitchen devices from their range. I have no idea how long that kettle will last, but it’s bigger, faster, and has no water level window that could cause a leak. What it lacks in cute factor it totally makes up in performance and call me crazy but the deep metallic eco sound it makes when the water boils in it actually makes me think of the noise the steamer attached to coffee machines in restaurant makes and it brings warm memories of early morning in cafes with a steaming cup in front of me and a basket of croissants next to it, the only good thing about early mornings I might add…
This weekend as usual I read the newspaper supplements, namely the Times of India Crest Edition where they had two articles that sparked my curiosity, one was how the notion of DIY (Do it yourself) is catching up in India, and another one, far more interesting about why DIY isn’t really part of the lives of the middle class Indian. You can read the whole article here.
But one extract caught me chuckling, let me share it with you :
“Mrinal Sarkar, a 50-year-old homemaker, wakes up three times every morning - once to give the car keys to the cleaner, once to open the door for the gardener and third to let the domestic help in. In between opening and closing the doors from 6-to-8 am, she likes to sneak back under the covers, like the snooze button on the phone alarm.
The cyclical sequence more or less continues through the day with almost hourly pilgrimages to the door for the retinue of the garbage guy, the cook, the driver, the dhobi, the sabziwala and the presswala. Any average day at a well-to-do household in India is punctuated by the doorbell. And it can be concluded that more the number of doorbells in a day, the better off the household.”
Not to long ago I wrote about how I welcomed the fact we moved into a less glitzy fancy building because the doorbell suddenly went mute too. In my old building the constant “ding dong” in the morning was driving me up the walls and even putting the garbage bag outside the door would not even prevent the garbage collector from ringing it to still ask if I had garbage to dispose of.
But this set aside this article reflects what I have been dealing with since moving to India.
You see in Switzerland we are hard-core DYI people, and I suddenly found myself in a land where when you are of a certain social level you aren’t supposed to do things, and just be home the whole day waiting for people to do the things for you. While granted that having a maid come in daily to help with the cleaning is almost necessary considering how fast the dirt piles up, and that for a girl like me who hates and truly abhors ironing (remember I once said I’d rather scrub the toilet than iron clothes) having a pressing service is nice. I can if needed, do without, judging by the tale of horrors some of my Indian neighbours told over the year feeling stuck with household when the maid got sick and cursing said hired help for not showing up I never completely related to that, because for me if the maid doesn’t show up, it sure is an inconvenience, but definitely not the end of my world the way some ladies around here would have wanted me to believe.
For me the fact that when a pipe burst or something need to be put on the wall is far more of an issue in India than the maid playing no show for a few days. Because thanks to the fact that hardware stores are in creepy places, still the bastion of male hood and tools not always affordable or quality meant that I have to wait for a handyman to deign showing up to my place to do the fixing, a thing that can take days, when if I had the proper tool and easy access to parts would have been solved in 5 minutes. As like every respected Swiss girl of my generation I know how to handle tools and fix stuff. You see where I come from when you move out of the parental home you start by doing a pilgrimage to IKEA to get yourself all the basic furniture you need since that’s the only store that will not put a dent in your meagre new grown up budget, you then proceed to the home essential and decor section in the same store to get yourself the “Kitchen starter box” that contains all the basics a fresh out of the nest 20 something will need to cook in their studio apartment, and on the way back home stop to a hardware store to buy yourself the standard life saving equipment: hammer, cutting pliers, flat pliers, a set of screwdrivers or best a sturdy one with a set or interchangeable head, a measuring tape and of course the good old plastic tool box to put it all in and keep it handy at home. Power tools such as a drill comes in or later or in my case still had enough friends and family around within a short distance ready to lend theirs.
You earn your stripes by setting up your home, save all the oh so practical Allen keys coming with each pack of Swedish furniture, drill holes in your wall yourself to mount your shelves, cook your first meal from scratch in the starter box items and you suddenly feel like a grown up to take seriously.
Not to say that any of us didn’t already have a brush on with tools, and household chores before moving out. I like all kids in my homeland went through several rite of passage: the time you are old enough to be sent doing the grocery for mom, the time your parents decide it is time to include you into the remodelling of the kitchen/bedroom/living or building shelves for the family boat, so that you get to know what tools look like, the day you hit the teenage years and you suddenly want to change the wallpaper in your bedroom and your dad says, “Ok fine you can use your Fall school break to do that” which in my case meant driving to a home depot kind of store, buy my big girl wallpaper and the tools necessary to remove my old one. My dad giving me a 5 minutes demo on how to remove old wallpaper using a sponge and a spatula rather than renting the steaming machine to do it. Then him to tell me to go to the hardware store buy some ceiling dispersion and another pot of acrylic paint to repaint the radiator, which again he briefly taught me how to do myself, the only thing he did himself but not without letting me off the hook was apply the new wallpaper. He applied it on the walls, I was to prep the sheets on the gluing table, and finally he was the one to teach me how to remove an old wall to wall carpet without causing any damage to the flooring underneath long before I decided to do an apprenticeship as a decorator. His reasoning like the reasoning of many parents, is that it is fine to have some desires to change your room as a teen, but one need to learn the value of the hard work involved in doing so, or in any handiwork. You see back home we think that if you personally applied some sweat and elbow grease doing any kind of work you respect the outcome even more and keep it neat and tidy. I have no idea if that notion is present anywhere else in Europe, but the Swiss do value hard work big time. Small services are or non-existent or cost a lot. A maid service means a cleaning lady coming once a week for one or two hours to do heavy cleaning like the bathrooms if the person hiring her cannot do it themselves for a reason or another, and that cost as much if not more than what I pay for my maid here in India to come in daily and cook on top of it.
People fortunate to have a house in Switzerland usually do all the gardening including the lawn mowing themselves, and if still fit enough will even cut their own edges because buying the electric saw to do it is still cheaper than hiring a professional. And as a decorator I worked for the rich Elite, very few even have a full time maid, and even if they do I have seen more than my fair share of millionaire’s wife still doing the dusting and cleaning.
We are all basically taught to function in an independent manner from a very early age. That said my living in India for so long has made me realise that some services like home deliveries of groceries (practically non-existent back home) has some advantage if you are sick, or the load is too heavy for you to carry all by yourself, but I am still yet to bend in to the “call the store and have them deliver just the milk” mind-set, I had people question why I bothered at all going to the kirana store while pregnant to buy a pack of cookies and a bottle of limca I suddenly found myself craving, the store was down the street mind you. And my reply was “I’m pregnant, not invalid, beside walking is good for everybody”.
My reasoning with the whole kirana store thing, is that if I can’t find myself motivated enough to go walk there myself it means I am not desperate enough for whatever I wanted to buy in the first place.
Both articles in that supplement highlighted what I have been wondering for years: “The day IKEA will finally come to India, will it even be a successful concept?” India is not a country with a DYI culture, and IKEA will still be seen as a “luxury” brand rather than the “Democratic design store” it is abroad, those who will be afford to buy IKEA will likely be the one to feel irked at the idea of spending “Good Money” and having to assemble the thing themselves…worse having to go pick the flat box in the warehouse hangar in the store itself. To me it seems that IKEA will have to tweak their die hard DYI formula to suit the Indian market in the same way Pizza Hut had to come with tandoori paneer spicy pizzas and Mc D remove the beef and add a few more veg option to their menu. Without such twists none of these brands could survive in the Indian market.
If you are following me on Facebook, you probably already know that 2 weeks of me being alone on the parenting job while DH was away on a business trip took the toll on me and a cold I had been dragging for a while finally burst out with cough and numbness galore.
The blog and a lot of my online took a back seat in favour of rest, peace and quiet in my offline life (you know the one that we all have when the computer is off).
IN the past two weeks I’ve been through the initial phase of feeling on top of my game and sneaking in moments of a single lady life that when looking back on it wasn’t really so desperate: late nights in front of TV munching comfort food without anybody questioning your sanity, reading books, taking the morning at a leisure pace…yeah that life. Except that since I am a mom half of it cannot be done, and what is left generally involve kiddos or being in school or in bed. So the first few days I was awaken at 5 hellish am or so by a daughter done with the idea of sleeping. Nothing like a toddler saying “Mama TVeeeeeeeeeeee” when just a minute ago you were in your dream drinking a nice cup of mulled wine with friends…dang back to reality, you are not in a mountain cottage with friends in front of a fireplace, you are in a suburban Mumbai flat with a toddler wanting Mickey mouse…right now! Dang! It inevitably went with me persuading her to crawl in my bed and cuddle for a while because 5am is not the time to switch on the idiot box. Worked half the time, but usually by 5.30 she would kick and jump around driving me batty, leaving me with only one option: Disney Channel. Serving her her cup of milk, switching on the bathroom light she can’t reach on the way back to bed, hoping that it would hold her long enough for me to catch a few more zzzz before going on with the rest of the day. Not quite, true I get to stay in bed until 7-ish am but not without a request for putting her panties back on, and several running commentary on what was happening on TV just so I would not miss that yes Mickey or whoever that was did indeed catch a fish, or went into a plane or whatnot, time to get up without killing anybody. And in order to keep me human in the morning there is only one thing that works: TEA loads of it, and I like mine black and strong, preferably Earl Grey or Assam, the kind of thing that will let you know by their strong taste that they are the kind of stuff that can shake your brain cells back to order, usually I need two cups of the stuff. Now when DH went on trips before we had kids I just had the dog to keep alive and satisfied, so my mornings were still quiet enough, with a kid, forget it, you need to fulfil many of your tots needs and requests, try to tell them that whining is not socially acceptable, that words like please and thank you are mandatory in this house, that no Maggi for breakfast is not acceptable everyday, that there is such a thing as too many candy, that fruits aren’t poisonous, and that just because kids on TV are eating candies, drink complan and eat chocos doesn’t mean it’s going to happen in this house, wet t-shirts don;t kill people and that when one wash their hands only the hands need to be wet, not the entire bathroom, and that Yesssssssssssssssssssssss you saw it there is a cow on TV and that it indeed goes moooooooooo and that yes you saw it and heard it so please stop stop stop saing it over and over….if you have kids, you know what I am talking about, if not or if your kiddos are too young, this serves as a warning of things to come your way…be prepared, because it WILL happen.
By 11am the kiddo was in school, and it was time to walk the doggie, because she needs a walk without me feeling yanked between the canine and the toddler while trying to keep both safe from speeding trucks, busses and psycho territorial stray dogs that do not tolerate certain pet dogs to pass in front of their loot.
At the beginning of the 2 weeks periods I still felt good enough to blog, and plan really nice lunches and dinners, enjoying it actually, then after picking up Ishi at school, having played in the park with her, fed her lunch, taken the dog and daughter back out for a walk around 4 and the daughter back to a playground right after that it was time for shower, dinner and a sleepy kiddo bringing on a whole evening of undisturbed time: Silly TV, books, a movie, playing games on the computer….oh the possibilities!
That was the first 4 days, after that it all went down hill with the appearance of a cold sore, the second one in a month, and the fact that that damn throat issue was not going away and not ripening at all, clearly I was not as super on top of my game as I thought I was, my immune system was starting to send me signs I ought to slow down…ah! humour me dear, as if I even had that option!
The first weekend we enjoyed some time at the mall, the next week was full enough of activities such as a birthday party at Pizza Hut, a kitty party/playdate, time with her friends at the playground, but still had me to run run run, and there went the blogging while she was in school, gone where the elaborate meals, not that we ate crap all the time, but let’s say that stuff like chicken meatballs, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, sandwiches and sprouts became more common than oven roast chicken, grilled veggies and homemade mashed potatoes. In word minimal prep and cooking became the new mantra. Beside whether it has been cooked for 20 minutes or ends up raw on the plate, green is still kryptonite to a toddler and you figure out that if they don’t touch their salad it can go back in a box in the fridge or you’ll end up staying somewhat in shape forcing yourself to finish their leftovers.
The second weekend alone was crap, first because Friday was a school holiday, then because my sore throat was ripening into a cold, with fever, and because Ishita started coughing too. Except that when toddlers get sick they still have 10 times more energy than you do when you are healthy and well rested. To make it even worse, my dog who is 6 and half and dealing with the onset of old age arthritis had a flare up and was dragging herself around the place, not looking forward to walks, and missing DH on top of everything. By then it was “screw healthy food, let’s just aim at food too bad it is junk” mode, pasta galore, cheese and bread, and chips, because I can’t be on parent duty 24/7 with a cold and a fever and a sick doggy and still pull a domestic goddess act. Blog be gone! Facebook frivolous ways I love thee, Zuma and solitaire you are my saviours! Who cares about TV, books and intellectual stimulation!
By Tuesday it became necessary to pep talk myself with “He’ll be back Thursday night, he’ll be back…you can do this, 2.5 more days to go…..” Fortunately Ishita had nothing wrong with seeing home made frozen portion of mac, cheese and ham make it to the dinning table, and neither did I. I kept us alive, that counts as something right?
Now DH is back, he got a taste of Ishita at 5 this morning, I still struggled during the morning routine, and coughed my lungs frequently, but was relieved of the doggy duty, and I know DH will be back tonight to provide some back up.
And here I am announcing that starting Monday I should be back to blogging full mode.