Friday, August 25, 2006

Lost and Remembered

Today started out as the worst day in my recent memory. So bad in fact that I am amazed at how well it ended. But to get to the moral of the story you have to read why I had a bad day.......

Getting to School: Today Amelia didn't want to go to school. Once I got her out of bed the battle to get dressed and in the car began in earnest. All of the best 4 year old tactics were on display: laying on the floor screaming; claiming to be sick; refusing to eat breakfast; and, culminating with kicking her father. The last step elicited a sharp retort that sounded distinctly like, "One more of those and you will spend the rest of the day in your bedroom." (I think I was channeling my mother) Eventually she settled down, but not until my nerves were pretty well shot.

The Walk: When I finally got Amelia in the car so that we could go to school, my lovely young wife suggested that I walk downtown today -- just to clear my head (not that she didn’t want to ride in a car with me given my mood). A great idea -- I went back in the house and grabbed my Ipod and preceded to head out. Two steps down the walk my allergies kicked in. I went back to the house, took some Benadryl, grabbed my tissues and off I went. Within two blocks I having a full-blown allergy attack and my Ipod battery had died. This was turning into a great little walk.

The Construction Company: I have been helping out the Vines by overseeing a construction project and the installation of new telephones. When I arrived today I found that neither company had shown up on time, one company was trying to move us back by an entire week and we installed a couple of phone jacks in the wrong place. All aggravating and nothing I won’t live through, but enough to add to an overall bad mood and to convince me to skip my Spanish lesson (something I can hardly afford to do).

The Theft: Today I was reminded that we live in a city and one with some poverty. Janalee had taken notice of my generally shitty mood and suggested we have lunch together. We don’t spend enough time together (I am in the guest room in the middle of the night writing a blog after all) and so off we went. We were sitting at our table when a strange guy bumped into me and kind of turned me to one side. He started talking to us about diabetes or something - I really couldn't tell (I knew I should have gone to the Spanish lesson) -- and then he ran off. When he left we started talking about how strange the encounter was and about 10 minutes later I realized my backpack was gone. The strange guy had distracted me so that his friend could steal my bag. In my backpack I had my computer, my Ipod and everything that I have been working on for the last few weeks.

All of that left me in a pretty foul mood. But, there is a bright side to this little tale.

The Offer: Janalee and I arrived at the school to pick up Amelia after my trip to the police station. (The interaction with the police is worth a blog all its own – at a later date.) Jan doesn’t usually go with me to pick up Amelia, but given how my day was going she thought it might be best to accompany me (and keep me away from sharp objects). She also wanted to tell me that she had talked to our friend Michael who is in the states for a visit. She wanted me to know that Michael called to volunteer to bring a replacement for my computer back with him. Nice to have people who want to help without you even thinking to ask.

The Mac & Cheese: When we got to the school we ran into some friends of ours who just moved here from the U.S.. And, they had a gift for us (chocolate chip cookie mix, syrup, macaroni & cheese – you would be surprised what you crave after being away from home for a few months). The gift couldn't have come at a better time (Mia ate her first pop tart today -- woo hoo, cavities here we come).

The Love: As I got to the door to retrieve Amelia she ran to me with a picture she had drawn. On the back she had written, “Te Amo, Papi” and signed it “Amelia”. (Did I mention that Mia has learned to write? Pretty cool, don't you think.)

By the end of the day I was reminded that what I lost is nothing compared with what I have.

And, that is about as emotional as I am going to get on a blog.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Veinte Años

It was 20 years ago today that Jan and I agreed to play. While we wondered if it would last, it has actually been a blast. We have been going in and out of style (I am out of style), but we seemed to have lasted a while.

Podrá nublarse el sol eternamente;
podrá secarse en un instante el mar;
podrá romperse el eje de la tierra como un débil cristal.

¡Todo sucederá!
Podrá la muerta cubrirme con su fúnebre crespon;
pero jamás en mí podrá apagarse la llama de tu amor.

Thank you to Janalee for twenty exciting years.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Dia del Nino

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that Argentina has far more holidays than the we have in the U.S. Every week there seems to be a holiday. On Sunday we celebrated Dia del Nino -- the day of the child. Dia del Nino is the day when all of the parents give kids presents and let kids decide what the family is going to eat, what the family is going to do and generally be in charge. So, it was pretty much like every other day of the year for us.

We purchased Mia a bike for Dia del Nino. A purple beach comber with great big training wheels. By Monday she was riding all over town. In fact, she rode the bike all the way to Janalee's office (pretty close to a mile). Luckily it is downhill to the office and there is an heladoria on the way -- a chocolate milk shake really helps on your first long ride. We didn't really stop to have ice cream, but if I would have thought of it earlier we surely would have.

I have to run, we need to get ready for Thursday -- San Martin Day. Not the anniversary of his birth that we celebrated in March, but the annivesary of his death. We didn't celebrate Air Force Day (last Thursday) and I am still sad, I need to find out when Navy Day is......

As they say in Mendoza, "Feliz Dia" (just in case you don't know what holiday it is, but you are certain it is one you can just say happy day thus avoiding the need to mark a specific holiday).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Earthquake - hide the glass!

We just had our first earthquake! We have no idea how strong it was, but I am pretty sure it was a 7 – maybe a 10 (Ok -- it was a 5.5, but that is nothing to sneeze at). If you are interested you can read all about it on the USGS website.

When the quake hit Amelia and I were sitting in a poof (beanbag chair straight from the 70’s) and Janalee ran across the room to join us. It felt like the house was on water. Swaying back and forth. Knocking over picture frames. It must have lasted 3 or 4 minutes (Janalee guessed two hours). Good thing we live in a short house -- our friends in high rise apartments said it was wild.

Now that I think about it, a poof in the front room might not be the safest place to ride out an earthquake. But, we didn’t really want to go outside – it’s a bit cold and all. Better shaken than frozen I always say.

Once the quake ended Amelia asked why the air was shaking. I don’t know the answer to that one – any input would be appreciated.

Keep on shakin’.