about me     |      about macondo     |      contact     |   

old ways, new ways, red ways, blue ways

Monday, October 26, 2009

old ways, new ways, red ways, blue ways =
the way i feel right now about what i guess could be called parental culture shock.

it's the confusion and ambivalence i feel after moving continents, changing languages, leaving jobs, modifying lifestyles, and packing and unpacking and packing and unpacking. and packing. and unpacking.

the background:

taking advantage of my year of partially paid maternity leave, my argentinian partner and i and our two little guys left toronto in november and moved here, to a beautiful little town in argentina, with a lovely beach on the river, monkeys and toucans in the trees, and alligators and piranhas in the ponds.

we came here thinking that it would be for about 2 years - a chance for f. to get some good professional experience, for the kids to have the jungle and the river as their playground, for me to brainstorm my future.

then, the plan was (is?) to pack up our family, our belongings and our newly acquired experience and ideas once again and make one final move to The Place We Will Settle Down. a destination still unknown, but it would be in argentina, more cosmopolitan and progressive than macondo, more green space and sanity than buenos aires.

the situation:

for a while, the beauty, tranquility and macondo-esqueness of this place helped to make it feel transitory. easy to enjoy splashing with the kids in the river, reading in my hammock, having a chuckle at the local absurdities and shrugging my shoulders at the inconveniences and objectionables.

now we've been here for 8 months. i've learned that change is not easy for our now 3.5-year-old monster. i've learned it the hard way, as we struggled through several months of his utter unhappiness and our total misery. thankfully, he is a sparkling, yummy, brilliant and hilarious monster, who muddled through all the harsh changes we foisted upon him and has emerged a loving, playful and happy little guy.

i will write more soon about the monster, about how he has adapted to life here, and about how we struggled with his transition - forgetting, or not trusting, that it would all probably turn out ok.

but his difficulties with change have us wondering about when and how we will move again. it won't be easy.

i know we won't stay here forever, but now that we're here for a while - actually living here, not backpacking, not on a year's leave, not with any other 'home' for my kids to attach to - i am starting to really try to figure out how to make it 'home'. what is my place here?

i've travelled a lot, lived in different countries, been in relationships with people from other places who spoke other languages. i've been pretty good, i would say, at going with the flow, respecting local customs, modifying my expectations, while not compromising myself or losing sight of who i am.

but this whole parenting thing throws a wrench into that. there are some things i just don't want to be laid back about, some things i am not willing to embrace, others i am not willing to let go of. my kids are actually growing up here, so i have to figure out what those things are, and what on earth i can do about it.

the plan:

okay, so all that is a very wordy introduction that i want to follow up on in a series of future posts about my parental culture shock, exploring some of the differences between canada and argentina, between big city and small town, between my childhood and my kids' childhoods.

topics will include (eventually, there's no rush - right?):
- argentina-time (10pm dinner; no bedtime (gasp!))
- dealing with lice & parasites
- angst about hiring some help around the house
- teaching diversity
- food, snacks, sugar, organics
- insisting on bilingualism
- can you believe that they (meaning moms or the hired help) IRON the kids' t-shirts??

stay tuned!

the plea:
by the way, i've just added the new 'followers' gadget to my footer. i warmly invite you all to become macondo watchers...

is the world losing its mind?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

has the world lost its mind and started to make a little bit of sense?

first a huge feminist uprising against sleazy italian pm silvio berslusconi.

then this, from a great organization i just discovered:

Disney Offers Refunds on Baby Einstein Videos (US only)
"The refund offer is a wonderful victory for families and anyone who cares about children. Recent research shows that screen time is not educational for babies. Now parents who purchased Baby Einstein DVDs, mistakenly believing the videos would make their babies smarter, can recoup their money.'

italian political life and US marketing regulations - two spheres not exactly known as bastions of reasonableness. what's next? mass reparations for slavery and colonialism?

nope! this just in:

Disney’s ‘Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure’ to Premiere at United Nations Headquarters, with Tinker Bell to be named ‘Honorary Ambassador of Green’

can you believe this???? note that this is not about any tinker bell, but about disney's tinker bell, along with a WORLD PREMIERE OF THE DISNEY FILM AT UN HEADQUARTERS. this is just so wrong on so very many levels.

fear not - it seems that rampant commercialism, corporate insanity and the inappropriate sexualization of girls and women are alive and well. oh, and disney might not be able to teach your toddler how to read but may very well save the world from environmental catastrophe.

more links on italian feminists and berlusconi

Saturday, October 24, 2009

here are a few english-language links about the mounting feminist protests in italy against prime minister silvio berlusconi:

Fury at Berlusconi 'sexist' jibe

Berlusconi sparks rare feminist backlash in Italy

New Berlusconi scandal sparks feminist backlash

here is a bit of background on italian feminism that i stumbled across:

'Sexist' Berlusconi faces the backlash of Italian women's anger

i know next to nothing about italy, but thought i'd share... if you know of any other good sources or have thoughts about any of this, please share!


Friday, October 23, 2009

by quino, published in la repubblica yesterday, 
now the symbol of massive protests against berlusconi

mafalda is a thoughtful, feminist little girl - she is argentina's best known comic character, she is concerned about world peace and social justice, and she is a fervent hater of soup. she's been around for more than 50 years, along with her gang of friends, and she came back yesterday to join thousands in protest against the outrageous sexism of italian prime minister silvio berlusconi.

in a televised debate with rosy bindi, a political leader of the opposition, berlusconi dismissed her with:

you are more beautiful than you are intelligent

she spat back:


the outrage has spread quickly, with protests mounting. hats, t-shirts and other paraphernalia with bindi's phrase are becoming popular.

ireland's irish times has said that berlusconi "disturbed the slumbering dragon of Italian feminism which, for all that it was radical and outspoken in the Sixties and Seventies, has almost disappeared from the stage of public life in the last 20 years."

thanks to desobediencia y felicidad and clarín for the heads up on this. if i can find the time i'll try to dig up some more links or translate some more about this over the next few days.

media reform in argentina

Monday, October 19, 2009

the battle for a new media law here in argentina has been won! i mentioned it in passing, but didn't write about it much because my one-handed, blogging-while-nursing posts couldn't do it justice.

i still can't, but will point you to this article (in english) which sums things up and includes a great map of media ownership.

the law in force from the time of the dictatorship until now explicitly prohibited non-profits, universities and community organizations from receiving broadcasting licenses. if you think that sounds impossible to justify, i wish i had the time to translate all of the unbelievable BULLSHIT being spouted by - go figure - almost all the media.

the end of your favourite media monopoly = the end of freedom
help save the media monopoly!!

if i could collect, translate and analyze some aspect of this enormous pile of bullshit, i might have myself a decent phd project.

but that takes me away from my strategic hope that i will do a phd in something somehow related to community health. or does it? media literacy and community health are surely connected, but would it be too big a leap to actually be helpful in a concrete community kind of way? hmmm.

speaking out at preschool

last thursday night was parent-teacher night at the monster's preschool. i have all kinds of qualms and doubts about whether it's the right school for him, mainly because it's a private school, and because it's a 40-minute drive away.

there is no school here in macondo until the little ones are 5 years old, so for now i can justify it all by saying that we don't have a choice. if we are still here in two years, we will have to make some painstaking choices about how we choose to insert ourselves into this society without closing any important doors on our kids' presents and futures. for now i'm not entirely convinced that the local public school would necessarily condemn them to illiteracy, parasites and a world of violence, but the thought doesn't exactly thrill me or fill me with confidence in my choices either.

in the meantime, the monster is thriving, and we have been fairly happy with much of what goes on at his preschool, while gritting our teeth at some things and shrugging our shoulders at others. we've talked about eventually raising some of the issues with other parents and the school directors - something our friends have done and have been pleasantly surprised with the openness to their suggestions.

in canada, i already would have jumped in and talked to the teachers, the director or the other parents. i would have raised my concerns about the separation of boys and girls every time they line up, the admonishments that boys don't have long hair and other such genderized crap, the senior kindergarteners attending mass to celebrate police day (!!), the kids bringing soft drinks and potato chips for snack-time...

but having moved recently to argentina, and not living in a diverse or cosmopolitan centre, i struggle to find my voice here. i'm scared of being way too out there, of trying to impose my own context inappropriately, of being absurd instead of bold. i don't know yet when to stand up as a concerned parent/woman/person, when to accept that there will be societal influences i won't like, when to relax, knowing we can model differently at home and hopefully neutralize or subvert the yucky stuff.

and this is one of the reasons that i just love my partner, f., so bloody much.  he did it. he felt it was a good time and he raised his hand, clothed in the legitimacy he gets from being argentinian, and suggested that it would be a really positive thing to include representations of same-sex couples and parents in the school's celebrations of Family Month.

he didn't mention junk food and the possibility of packing healthier snacks. he jumped head first into gay rights, and then told the other parents and the director that he would really like to know the position of the school and what the other parents think.

there was basically some silence, and then three parents spoke up and agreed with each other that the kids were too young for so much information and there was no reason to deal with such complicated stuff quite yet. keep in mind that we live in a very conservative province - i am sure that a similar proposal in buenos aires or rosario would have at least met with a few nodding heads.

but we both felt great about having said something.

it gave me the push i needed to bring up my discomfort with the constant separation of boys and girls, which was met with basically some initial denial and then just basic confusion about what could possibly be wrong with such a harmless tradition.
the kids are always together, not separated. but you know boys, they can be so rambunctious, so we're helping them learn how to be gentlemen by letting the girls go into the room first on our way back from the playground. and they only get into separate lines for boys and girls when we line up to salute the flag every morning, because that's the tradition.

i'm sure that nothing will change in the monster's class, and i don't know if anything we said will get more than an eyeroll. no doubt it would have been more productive and less alienating to have suggested some healthy snack alternatives instead.

but not only did i feel so in tune and in love with f.  i also felt huge relief knowing that we can and will speak up. and at least we will be able to model that for our little guys.

all the stuff we don't agree with suddenly seems less powerful now.

it's mothers' day in argentina

Sunday, October 18, 2009

happy mothers' day to me!  it's mothers' day here in argentina.

alas, f. has a cough, the two little guys have coughs & colds & mild fevers, and my mom is starting out her visit here with a cough and some antibiotics. woe is me!

f. and i have always been terrible at celebrating things anyways. birthdays, anniversaries, christmas, chanukah, hallowe'en, we always do less than we'd like, or nothing at all. all these days seem to creep up on us and surprise us when we are least able to muster the energy and creativity to do anything. every time another Day rolls around, we pledge to do better next time.

but all is not lost. in a moment of inspiration and aided by our unusually well-stocked fridge, f. put together some crepes and fruit salad (yum!) and the monster recited his little school poem to me (awwwwww):

mamita querida
de mi corazón
yo te quiero mucho
con todo mi 

i also am getting hugs and cuddles and it's a beautiful, sunny day. if i'm lucky i will be treated to a nap this afternoon. can't really ask for more than that!

two asides:
interpares is a very cool social justice organization with a great mothers' day campaign. if they do it again next may, consider sending your peace & justice greetings through them.

argentina has a Day for everything: brother-in-law day, veterinarian day, pharmaceutical salesperson day... it can get pretty bizarre.

nursing my toddler - part 2

Friday, October 16, 2009

well, my resolve to make some changes to my nursing relationship with the monkey has kind of been thwarted by a minor bout of something - mild fever and throat blisters - and now a cough and some more teething.

when my kids are sick, i say all bets are off, and we cuddle, nurse, sleep all tangled up, eat what feels good and watch DVDs on the computer. sometimes this makes it harder to get back on track, but what else can you do? 

the monkey hasn't been eating barely at all, so it's nurse nurse nurse for now.

aside from that little update, i thought i would also share some other breastfeeding-related news:
  • i came across the stats reading an excellent series about nestle and its evil ways at PhD in Parenting. i grew up boycotting nestle and still do, but i hadn't kept up with all the details of its corporate madness. the series also shares lots of related information about breastfeeding, the formula industry, advertising, the health care profession and just so very much to get outraged about and say 'noooo! how can this be????'
  • i just found out about this october carnival of breastfeeding on what i wish i'd known. october 19th is the deadline for submissions and the carnival will be posted on the 26th. if my little coughers & hackers in this house give me a break at some point, then i will try to submit something. you should too!

post-travel reflections

Thursday, October 15, 2009

i'm just back from 2 days in buenos aires, such a very cool, funky, and totally unlivable city. i really love it there, for a bunch of reasons, but this time around i  couldn't do much of anything, between taking care of the monkey and my mom who just flew in for a visit (so far so good, mostly).

after an all-night bus ride and complete exhaustion, here are a few random thoughts:
  • yay for luxurious bus travel, 'VIP' style - not just fully reclinable seat/beds, dinner and a bad movie, but champagne, whisky, decent pillows & blankets...
  • hooray for the fact that the monkey is such a superstar traveler - sleeping, being cute, playing, pooping, eating and nursing at the most convenient and least troublesome times and places, more or less...
  • argentina is more of an alloparenting society than canada - despite all the smoking in public places, bus crowds that make babywearing a bit too squishy for comfort, really icky 'girl' culture, and totally inapproporiate daytime TV. i'll have to make a list of all the ways parenting and small kids are smiled upon and supported here...
  • i'm really looking forward to the day i can have a few Hours, not minutes, all to myself.  i'm really really really looking forward to it.

blog angst

Saturday, October 10, 2009

i can't keep up with my blog!

when i started this blog, it was an exciting way to keep in touch with a good friend, and it seemed like it could be a good tool for reflecting on all the changes in my life.

now i can't keep up with myself - i have so much i want to write about.

i have a running list in my head, constantly being added to, of moments i'd like to document, feelings i want to explore, politics i want to rant about, anecdotes i want to share. (so much great content to come!)

and i'd like to tweak my design, find a great banner image, capture hundreds of new readers, obsessively track my visitors.

what is going on? is all this blog angst normal? does it subside, eventually, into something resembling a normal writing practice, now go ahead and get on with the rest of your life? it does, right?

a very important house guest

Thursday, October 8, 2009

my mom is coming to visit from canada next week. ack!

this is great news for my little guys. the monster misses her like mad, and the monkey barely got a chance to meet her before we moved to argentina. it's good for them to have their bubby (grandma) here, to keep up a relationship with her. it's good for their english too - we'll all be forced to speak it all the time, and the monster is needing that because he's starting to get lazy with me.

it's good for them, good for them, good for them - i chant it to myself as i prepare for the next three weeks (THREE WEEKS!) of having my mom here, with her very large presence, STAYING WITH US in our house.

she's great with them, and we've done our best to keep her relationship with them alive. we talk about her lots, we webcam whenever our Very Crappy Internet Connection collaborates, and she sends them little trinkets by mail. the monster absolutely adores her, and no doubt the monkey will too.

my relationship with her is complicated, to put it mildly, and there's still lots of anger and disappointment all over the place. but the biggest problem (now that i haven't lived with her for almost 20 years, don't depend on her for anything and have gotten over a lot of shit) is basically that i just can't stand her. she drives me Crazy. to the point that i'm totally unfair to her and treat her worse than i treat anybody.

i don't want to model that for the monster, and it puts f. in a really uncomfortable position. plus, i do want her to visit, and to visit again, and for my kids to have their bubby for as long as they can, even if she lives far away in canada where it gets really cold and people play hockey really well and have to wear boots to keep their feet warm!

so this is me taking a big breath, and then another one, and then another one, and smiling and getting ready to Have A Fun Time With Bubby for her entire stay.

24th annual women's gathering in argentina

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

this weekend is the annual women's gathering in argentina. this year, it's in tucuman, and twenty thousand women are expected to go from all over the country.

it's a major feminist happening, argentina style - which i guess will mean fabulous street art, lots of mate to go around, kick-ass analyses, way too much fragmentation, and planned ultra-catholic attempts to obstruct the gathering and pray for the gatherers.

in the list of 55 workshops (in spanish), topics include reproductive rights, work, violence, religion, poverty, housing, education, health, prostitution, arts and culture, sexuality, politics, economics and the list goes on.

i would LOOOOOVE to go - to meet people, hear them talk, be inspired, see if there is anyone from my province.

(not to add to whatever critics and fragmentations are out there, especially since i really know nothing about the gathering other than what i've found online, but i note that there are no workshops on motherhood, on the struggle for the right to a natural pregnancy and birth, and on the dozen or so topics that i can think of related to bringing up feminist kids and creating feminist spaces for them. maybe if i were there i would find those topics, and i would be thrilled to talk to others about how they understand these issues, to hear about their strategies and their frustrations.)

depending on where the gathering is held next year, i'll try to go. i'm sure kids are welcome :)

good morning, macondo

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

some mornings i listen to the local radio station here, sometimes with the intention to feel a part of my new town, sometimes for the same kind of maddening enjoyment i would get from watching reality shows if i had a tv. the radio is - as some of my friends with experience in small towns have assured me is always the case - an incredibly important part of life here. that, and sometimes they give away up to 35 pesos (about US$9) in cell phone credit!!
(this isn't a post about community radio. i am all for local and community radio, and the battle they are waging for legal reform, which is at a crucial stage right now as a new law goes before the senate on friday. the past few weeks here have laid bare just how powerful (and desperate) corporate media interests are. local media are super important for democracy, for struggle, for education... but this is just a silly post about the ridiculously silly radio station i get to listen to here in the mornings if i feel so inclined.)**
the radio station here is actually just one guy who starts broadcasting usually around 9am or so and ends for lunch time - sometimes noon, sometimes 1pm, sometimes later, when he says 'okay, i think that's all for now, oh wait, one more message, okay, now i'm really going, see you tomorrow, don't forget that...' and on and on for a little while longer). his program consists of:
  • important announcements (local sale on winter clothes, scheduled power outage, etc., ladies' night at the bar),
  • reading messages (happy birthday mariano, congratulations carolina, the mayor isn't fumigating enough),
  • music, sometimes accompanied by him singing along,
  • reading websites (ok, let's see, i'm opening the window, click, it's loading, let's see what it says, here we go, wow, she's pretty but i don't recognize her, let's see if there's anyone i know, how about this one, in the green shirt, click),
  • daily tirades, until recently almost entirely devoted to accusing the director of the local hospital of corruption, negligence, idiocy and manslaughter. now that the elections are over and his side won, his rants have shifted - today was all about the imminent visit of one of latin america's masters of cheesiness and bad lyrics, arjona, and speculation about whether his security entourage will include helicopters. apparently after his big show in the city, he will be enjoying some r&r in our little town. (f. and i can't seem to escape arjona, his tours seem planned around our travels and migrations.)
it turns out that the content that isn't (quite amusing) fluff is basically all motivated by local political rivalries and who has either crossed the radio man or paid him to be on their side. not unlike the rest of mainstream politics around here.

one of the first times i turned on the radio here was in the middle of the dengue outbreak last spring. it coincided with elections, which meant that the politicians decided to Do Something. instead of doing many of the very useful things they could have done, they fumigated. people see the fumigation trucks, they see the smoke billow, they smell the fumes, they're satisfied that Something Is Being Done.

so while i was preparing lunch for my then 6-month-old monkey and for the monster when he got home from preschool, i heard the radio man report, block by block, where the fumigation trucks were. listeners would call in to report when they saw the trucks, so we could all be sure that Something Was Actually Being Done. and then i realized: food, eating, small baby, toxic fumes being purposefully pumped into our air... so i scooped up the monkey, took advantage of the miracle that there was a bus heading to the city right then, and took my first solo trip into the city on public transit to meet f. and the monster for lunch. we then came home and diligently wiped all of our surfaces clean.

lesson learned: listen to the radio!
** wow, trying to find english-language links about the super-important media reform process here was like what i imagine being force-fed Fox News or something must be like. almost all crap like this.

nursing my toddler

Sunday, October 4, 2009

my little monkey had his first birthday a few weeks month ago. a little over a year ago was perhaps the most intense hour of my life – just 54 minutes of (excruciating) labour and out came the monkey, in a rush to get started. i am so proud of myself and my partner for how we got through that hour.

but i will save the story of how the firefighters came to be in my bedroom-cum-birthing room for half a second during our planned home birth for possibly another post.

what i want to write about now is nursing. i feel like it’s time to take stock of my nursing relationship with the monkey and make some changes. i think the days of nursing as a no-brainer Solution For Everything have come to an end.

i thought it would be a great idea to offer some breastfeeding statistics comparing argentina and canada but, alas, these were not easy to find, and what i did find was totally variable and contradictory.

by way of anecdotal evidence, i can say that i have never had any problems breastfeeding in public either in canada or in argentina, other than a bit of initial squirmishness on the part of one of my brothers and my dad.

in argentina, breastfeeding rates seem to vary along class lines. to grossly over-generalize: the educated middle class are more likely to nurse, seem to do so longer, and hold off on the solids for the first six months (though in just a few more months they're already drinking coca-cola and calling it 'juice'). the wealthy seem most likely to never have nursed at all, and the working class and the poor seem to nurse, but not for long, and tend to start solids really early. paid maternity leave is available for (legally employed) working moms up to a maximum of 3 months, one of which has to be the final month of the pregnancy.

no doubt breastfeeding varies along class lines in canada too, but i had way less exposure to class diversity in canada.  everyone i know there has nursed for at least a year, and waited until 6 months for the first solid foods. partially-paid maternity leave is available for (eligible) working moms for one year.

unlike what i assume (hope) are hospital practices in canada, in argentina babies are regularly given pacifiers and formula right in the maternity ward, even if the mother intends to breastfeed. that can't be boosting their success rates, or their confidence.

i am sure that age, education, ethnic background, and supportive partners, health care workers, communities and legislation all influence breastfeeding rates as well.

if anyone is reading this (hello!), is this more or less consistent with your experiences? do you know of any reliable statistics? please share!

okay, now back to me... like his brother, the monkey has always nursed well. he had only booby for the first 6 months, and then started eating solids as well. he took the occasional bottle of pumped milk until he decided, recently, that he would rather barf on his own tears than drink milk out of a bottle. so it’s booby booby booby, all the time. no pumping, no formula, no cow’s milk, nothing.

here’s what i do with all the milk storage bags i never got to use:

bulk cooking for the freezer!

his older brother, the monster, was even more adamant about only nursing from The Source. when i went back to work, he stopped having any milk intake at all during the day, just to prove his point. with no immediate plans to work outside of the house, i don't have to agonize about this for the monkey for now.

i like breastfeeding. i like snuggling in for a cozy nurse, i like having him in my arms when he nurses to sleep, i like that my body is still directly nourishing him.

but: he’s got seven teeth he sometimes uses, he wakes up 1 to 4 times a night (there is a huge difference between waking up once and waking up four times a night), he sometimes latches on and doesn’t let go, ever. really.

i am not considering weaning him. until further notice, i plan to let him self-wean. his brother self-weaned at 18 months, but i had already been back to work full-time for 6 months by then. the monkey is going to have me and my boobies around all the time, so it’s different. maybe it’s time to stop nursing him like he’s a baby, and to think about how to nurse a toddler.

i feel like in addition to all the nursing for nourishment, thirst, attachment, comfort and cuddling, he nurses when he’s bored (when i don’t pay enough attention to him), and i nurse him when i’m lazy (when i want him to go back to sleep at 3am without waking anyone else, or when i want to finish reading an email or planning my next lexulous move).

so not only am i going to try to pay more attention to him. i am going to offer a song or dance or story when he wants to nurse out of boredom. or i will grab the shovels and head for the sandbox instead of trying to peck out another one-handed-while-nursing blog post.

as for the 3am thing – i’m already trying to offer some bum-patting instead of booby, but my partner is going to have to take on more of a role in that one. i figure that as the monkey gets better at aiming his kicks directly into our ribs, bladders and other sensitive parts while he is so peacefully co-sleeping, f. is going to take the nighttime bum-bum-patting-so-he-won’t-have-to-come-into-our bed-for-the-rest-of-the-night more seriously.

domestic musings

Saturday, October 3, 2009

i'm as good at washing dishes and sweeping floors as the next person, and i do both of these things about 25 times a day, or so. i'm not at all obsessed or even terribly clean, but sandy streets, toddler crumbs, you know...

here is a picture of the kitchen sink i moderately despise. note the absence of hot water...

yup, pretty standard fare here - we have hot water in the shower, but that's it.

anyways, washing dishes, sweeping floors and the occasional banana bread are about as far as my domesticity comfortably takes me. comfortably, because i do these things reasonably well, without being forced or guilted into it, and without unreasonable suffering.

the other things don't come nearly as easy to me, and it's causing a bit of stress in my new domestic role of stay-at-home mom.

i can't for the life of me think of anything to make for lunch or dinner other than pasta (it doesn't help that the monster is as picky as they get and f. doesn't consider sandwiches real food). f. has always done the bulk of the cooking around here, and though i am trying to do my share, i find it stressful and bothersome. i experience true relief and even joy when i realize that we have gone 3 whole days without a pasta meal and that i can offer noodles guilt free. (i do make yummy sauces occasionally).

since i've discovered the secret trick to housekeeping - constantly straighten and tidy and organize and wipe everything, all the time - our house is definitely neater. i'm around all the time, so my threshold for grime and clutter has decreased significantly. but i'm not thrilled about how much mental energy and angst i devote to this not-even-that-clean house. all those minutes spent lying in bed before i fall asleep thinking about tackling the kitchen cupboard. all those times i'm glued to the chair, breastfeeding, looking around and taking stock of all the things that need doing. 

i think i have to do three things:
  • learn to like some of the things i need to do. i've started to like hanging the laundry, for example. it's usually lovely outside, with lots of birds and sunshine.
  • get into a rhythm and accept some of the things i need to do - cooking can't always feel like such a huge drag. i'm going to need to eat for the rest of my life.
  • figure out all my conflicted feelings about hiring someone to help out. this is the biggie, and i think i am only writing this silly little post to push me a little closer to actually sorting through it all. it's a huge mess of class issues, gender issues, child care, our money situation, my stay-at-home-ness, and other things all rolled up into me being a bourgeois, lefty, gringa, feminist, immigrant mama who can't figure out what to do!
anyways, that post is coming soon.

what to do in case of emergency

Friday, October 2, 2009

our casero, who waters the lawn and generally takes care of our rental house when it's unoccupied, is also the night-time ambulance driver in our little town. that's the kind of place this is, the town plumber is probably also the pizza maker and traffic cop.

anyways, our casero told me when we first moved here that the emergency number is 107. i dutifully wrote it down and committed it to memory. we have an emergency, we call it, someone helps us. that's the idea. we just have to be sure to specify what town we live in, because sometimes the call gets redirected to another town...

it turns out that 107 is actually a direct line to the hospital, or the police station, depending on your luck.

my partner f. now works with the director of the town hospital. whenever he has to call the director, he's been told to just dial 107 and they'll put him in touch. yes, that means that the director uses the emergency number as his 'office' number, or something like that.

the problem is, the last bunch of times that f. has tried to call him, he doesn't get the hospital, but the police station.  

- comisaría, answers the voice on the other end of the line.
- oh, i was trying to reach the hospital.
- no, this is the police station.
- oh, i dialled 107, to reach the hospital.
- no, this is the police station.
- oh, how can i reach the hospital?
- sorry, this is the police station.

so f. sets off to the hospital and delivers his message to the director in person.

i say, good thing we all have lots of extra time, live really close to the fire station, and have plenty of other ways to get to the hospital...
Related Posts with Thumbnails