Sunday, February 24, 2008

Waiting

I haven't heard anything from the French people, although I did my part and explained to them exactly what they need to do to get me a visa. Now. Am I supposed to check up on them to make sure they're doing it or take their silence as an indication that they've given up on the whole thing.
On a brighter note, it seems to be much easier to get into New Zealand. And get this! They have a shortage of Environmental Scientists!! Hahahahaha! At least my kind is wanted somewhere.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Currently Watching . . .

The Painted Veil based on the book by Somerset Maugham by the same name. So far it is excellent. I read the book a few weeks ago in preparation for watching the movie. I always try to read the book before I see the movie. Unfortunately this means I miss out on many excellent movies because I never get around to reading the book. Cider House Rules and Angela's Ashes to name a few. Of course I see many movies having no idea they are based on a book.
Another excellent book set during outbreaks of cholera is Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. I haven't seen that movie yet, though I'm not all that excited to since nobody seemed to like it. Both books involve torrid love affairs, beautiful women and exotic locations. Who knew a disease known for killing people through debilitating diarrhea could be so sexy.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Discovered!

My kids have the annoying habit of relapsing. A mere two days after Blue was up all night with a fever (or rather I was up all night watching her have a fever) I was once again sleep deprived. To add to my discomfort, I couldn't go to the gym the next day either as Kidz Zone frowns upon parents who drop their delirious, runny-nosed children off on their way to spin classes. So for the next few days I was on "home exercise" which means hopping up and down a little bench, something clumsily akin to step aerobics.
Friday we went to a new restaurant which had a large selection of vegan items on their menu. It turned out it was way overpriced and not that good.
Saturday I was supposed to take Blue to a violin recital and completely forgot.
Today as Husband was checking his Jet Program results he found my blog. Not actually found. I'd left it open when I abandoned the computer.
"You're blogging about your life now!"
"Yes!" Slam the screen down, take computer.
"You nerd!"
"At least I wasn't rejected by the Jet Program!"
Which he was. And now he's not even interested in trying to find a job through other venues. Jet Program or nothing at all!
So, now who's the nerd?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Up Past My Bedtime

Last night Blue had a high fever and I couldn't sleep with worry. I had to take her temperature every few minutes, putting cold packs on her head, asking if she wanted ice chips, etc. I think it's so trying to care so much! Why is it that at the least sign of danger the mother mind goes into a complete panic, spiraling towards the worst possible outcome. Or maybe that's just me.
So after waking up every half an hour to make sure she was still breathing, her brain wasn't boiling and she wasn't in need of anything, I finally fell asleep at around 4:00 satisfied that her fever had lowered and everything should be fine, only to be woken up by Husband who lurked over us to feel her forehead at 5:30 scaring the hell out of me. Then an hour and a half later, it was time to get Green up and off to school.
I came home drank tea, cleaned, exercised, watched a movie (Driving Lessons: Very funny, Rupert Grint is adorable) and finally lay down at about 1:30 to take a nap. I was just drifting off when I was jolted awake by a loud buzzing. The first time I ignored it, too tired to care if the house was being swarmed by bees or not. The second time I opened my eyes (sans glasses, I couldn't see very much)to see a large blob flying towards me. I jerked backwards and grabbed my glasses. The thing headed back toward the window in it's relentless bid to project itself through the glass.
As I slid my glasses on, my eyes focused on what had to be the biggest yellow jacket I have ever seen, mere inches from my face.
I have no idea where it came from, but I was reminded of the time the girls collected a wasps nest from my grandparents house. They brought it home and put in in a jewelry box for safekeeping. A few months later, having forgotten all about the nest, Blue opened the jewelry box and five wasps flew out! I don't know how they survived in there (I think cannabalizm had something to do with it as there were several hollowed out wasps corpses) but it was quite shocking and sad. We managed to get two of them safely out of the house, the rest were never seen from or heard of again.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Interview

I was supposed to call at 10 AM my time (7 PM her time). I had programmed her number into my phone. At 10:01 I dialed, heading into my bedroom, away from the noisy kids and reading husband (I didn't want him listening in case I completely blew it so he couldn't mock him later).
As I arrived in the bedroom, a voice on the other line said, "That number cannot be completed as dialed." I panicked. How can that be?? I went back to the email message I received with her number in it to make sure I had dialed correctly. Yes I had! What was going on!! I checked to see if the international code had been left off. By now it was 10:07. Seven minutes late!! What would they think of me??
According to the website I found that the code I got was wrong. Phew! That explained that. So, new international code in hand, I re-dialed. Ringing! Then . . . "This type of number cannot be dialed from this line." Oh no! I ran to the living room, "My phone won't let me make international calls!" By this time it was 10:12.
Husband was reasonably shocked and agitated, "You'll have to call from a pay phone, unless I can add international calls to our plan right now." He manned the computer, and added, "Or you could buy a calling card."
How long would that take? The prospect of calling from a pay phone was especially uninviting. I decided I would buy a calling card, since at this point the adding international calling instantly to our plan didn't seem likely.
Then I remembered we had a calling card on our bookshelf. It had been there for at least three years and I couldn't remember if I had recycled it last time I went on a cleaning spree. Just the same I madly dashed into my room, rooting through piles of books, papers and magazines. I found it, went back to the living room and after a few false starts, I was back in business. A voice came on the line telling me I had 30 US minutes and only 10 International minutes. This was worrying. What if the interview went longer than that and I was cut off mid sentence? I decided to worry about that when it came to that. After a pause I heard a strange beeping sound which I gathered was the French version of ringing.
Then a voice came on the line speaking French. "Is Mme there?"
More French. "I don't speak French."
More French. Pause. Him, "Allo?"
"I don't speak French."
More French, then he finally put me on the line with Mme. "I'm sorry, I forgot you were going to call." She said. How rude! But at lease it didn't matter that I was 15 minutes late calling her.
So basically it seems I have a job if the visa can come through on time. They don't seem to know anything about getting a visa and expect me to figure it out and let them know by Friday.
We shall see . . . This all seems too good to be true. All my research indicates that getting a work permit in France is next to impossible. My paranoid side soon emerged, remembering an Audry Tautou film I saw where she went to Paris, ended up working in a sweatshop and was later nearly forced to sell her organs.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Interview With Mme Frenchie Tomorrow


A couple months ago I applied for a job teaching English in France (separate from the French Language Assistants program). I had a phone interview with another English instructor at the company and the Mme decided on his recommendation that we should "take the application to the next level" although I have no idea why because as I recall I didn't say anything very interesting or 'English teacher-like". So anyway tomorrow at 10 am I have an interview with the director! I'm having second thoughts now. How am I going to go to France, get an apartment, get a car, have a job teaching English when I barely speak French.
Furthermore, how is this going to affect my kids? They'll be torn out of their school, away from their friends and family and in some weird backward country where the people are rude, don't speak proper English or shower! Oh, wait a minute, we'll fit right in.
I expressed these concerns to Husband who scoffed at me saying, "You're pussing out already! You haven't even gotten the job yet!"
Yeah . . . maybe a little . . . but a little encouragement would have been nice.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Miracle Worker!

This weekend the kids were away at the irritating in-laws. Husband and I were just settling down for a Veronica Mars marathon when I said, "Let's go through the kids' clothes and get rid of some things."
"Ok." Said he, reluctantly picking up the remote.
Something must be said about the condition of my children's room at this point. To call it a mess would be like calling hurricane Katrina a thunder storm. Their room is so abhorrent that they moved into the spare room several months ago, only venturing into their former domicile to withdraw clothes and toys.
Once we were in, going through clothes quickly evolved into, getting rid of everything. The deeper we delved, the weirder the things became. I found a pile of sand on one of their shelves (we live nowhere near the ocean and haven't been to a sandy playground in at least six months), we found two of my husband's missing shirts, a rock collection (actually more of a gravel and pebble collection), sticks, broken dishes, a piece of toast, candy wrappers, a cracked soy yogurt container and of course, loads of too small, too dirty clothes.
After five hours we hauled a truckload of old ratty clothes, toys, dolls, games, puzzles and clothes. Since most of the time we basically donate bags of garbage to Goodwill, our strategy is to unload everything and take off quickly before the sorters have a chance to realize we've just given them a load of trash. We also filled up the vacuum cleaner vacuuming all the bits and pieces from their floor and we actually ended up getting rid of all their clothes. We dismantled their bunk beds (they always made me nervous) and got rid of a dresser. We went out and bought them all new clothes, socks and underwear ($200 well spent).
When they got back from the in laws, they didn't go into their room for several hours. Green finally went in to get some underwear. Green opened the door, looked inside and just stood there and stared. Poor thing was too shocked to say anything at all!
It truly was a miracle.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Disturbing Trend

Ok, today the THIRD person came up to me at the gym commenting that I have lost weight. This is extremely odd to me because the exact opposite is true! I know for a fact that I've gained weight, thanks to my recently adopted strict peanut butter and coconut milk ice-cream diet. My thighs rub together when I walk, my jeans are tight and the scale at the gym (erroneous though it may be) says I've gained eight pounds. Naturally, knowing what I know these people continuously noticing this phantom weight loss is extremely disconcerting.

Friday, February 1, 2008

No!!! Japan Doesn't Want Us!!

I checked the husband's results on the JET Program website and alas! he was not selected for an interview. There's always next year. And the year after that, and the year after that (the age limit for the JET Program is forty!) Hopefully we'll both get into the French Assistantship program. I have a sinking feeling that even if we both get in, husband is going to back out and refuse to go. I've thought about this eventuality and I've decided that I'm going without him. I also have a sinking feeling he didn't get into the JET Program because he described himself as "grizzled" in his essay. I didn't say something at the time because I thought the rest of his essay was really good and I didn't want to hurt his feelings. It probably didn't make a difference, but I just can't imagine a Japanese person feeling comfortable with a grizzled person teaching their youth. And to make matters worse, he's not even grizzled! I haven't told him yet. He's been rather depressed lately, being a carpenter (read: Man who works out side in all weather), and in a Bush Economy, no matter how hard you work you don't make enough to live on.
Speaking of weather, I never thought I would be so happy to see cloudy skies, rain and temperatures above forty degrees! After a frightening bicycle ride yesterday I learned a few things about riding bikes in the bitter cold:
1. You can get brain freeze from the wind against your head as you're speeding along on your bike. Wear a hat.
2. Slush can be deceiving. While it looks like it should be easy to ride through, sometimes it's compacted and slightly frozen. If you attempt to ride through it, you run the risk of skidding around, falling off your bike and providing endless amusement to groups of snickering teenagers.
So today I was thrilled to be riding on rain splattered roads in a relative heat wave. Although by the end of the day, I was wet and cold and screaming, "Curse you RainyTown and your bloody temperate climate!"