Saturday, October 09, 2004

I've Been Dun Dirty!

Well, if you've been to my two daughters' blogs, you know the bad news that our tiny, adorable, wonderful, faithful, dependable car was stolen on Friday; from right in front of the mosque during Friday prayer!!!

One family member's reaction: "Somebody's gonna go to Hell for this one." My reply, "I hope not. I certainly wouldn't wish Hell on anyone just because they stole my car. Let's let God call this one." Crisis brings out the best in me.

It's gone and we have to get used to that fact. Sadly, we are seeing "our" car everywhere. Our silver-gray Suzuki Mehran is one of the most common cars on the road. Hubby and Zaman went out on motorcycle a few minutes after the theft was discovered and chased 5 of them.

Weirdly, less than 24 hours before the crime, I looked at our car, remembered that it was uninsured and thought to myself, "If that car gets smashed or stolen, we'll have a terrible time trying to replace it." Little did I know how true that premonition was. So, I think we will be carless for a while.

Hubby was talking about replacing the car, I nobly said, "Look, we're leaving the country in a few months where the cars are left-hand drive. Don't buy a new car. We can make do with the motorcycle and taxis." *cue the flood-lights, roses and standing ovation* Such a noble preformance.

The reality if being carless will soon wear the gleam off my noble ideals.
Wait till the boredom reaches ennui. Then I'll try to get out by taking taxis. The taxis in Pakistan are dangerously beat-up and broken-down cars with the worst possible drivers in a country full of the worst drivers in the world. It's like playing dodge 'em cars with real cars. No seat belts! No rules! No guarantee that you will reach your destination alive! No regard for human life! I'm truely NOT exaggerating!

We now have a Honda 125 motorcyle as our only family vehicle. Yesterday, Zaman and I were driving to the tailor. A herd of buffalo was crossing the road. Zaman started to pick his way through the huge black swaying bodies. "Be careful." I whispered into his ear. He could feel my body tense and my grip tighten. "You're afraid, aren't you." he shot back. "Yes" I replied. I was thinking about a time I was driving my car through a herd and got hit by a swishing tail through the half opened window. The car filled with dirt. It was all over our faces, in our eyes, in our lungs. As if he was reading my mind he said, "You know what's the worst thing; getting hit by the tail. You get dirt.


DIRT" he repeated a third time.

Yeah, I replied, nodding my head knowingly,"Dirt."

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The End of One Era

In a few days one very important era of my life will end and another will begin. On Oct 10 Zaman, my baby, will turn 20 and I'll have NO MORE TEENAGERS left.

He's leaving his teenagehood kicking and screaming. He still has the messiest bedroom in the house, enjoys wild and loud music, spends more time looking at his hair in the mirror in one day than I do in a month, has the 2nd most clothes in the family after me, can be sweet and charming one minute and rude and insulting the next. I never know when I should kiss him or kick him. I usually want to do both. I have perfected a kind of hug/punch to the ribs that expresses by mixed emotions based on his current behaviors.

On my dresser is my favorite photo taken then the kids were 12, 10, 8 and 6. It marks the last year I had only middle-school kids. So sweet, so innocent,four bright and smiling faces, all dressed in their school uniforms. Those were the years when homework and fast growing feet were my biggest problems. Ah, the good ole days. The years before the WAR ZONE began. One by one my children turned into monsters!

There was a one year I had 4 teenagers when they turned 19, 17, 15 and 13!!! I barely survived with my life. The fact that we use metal dishes saved us from having no dishes at all. Metal dishes can be flung across the room (full or empty), bounce off the head of your sibling (or wall-depending on you aim and throwing abilities) and never have a single dent. Walls were punched, doors were broken, equipment was broken, lost or abused, cars smashed. Then K-Mart and Walmart were offlimits for school shopping. It had to be the mall, with the lastest trends. And the boys are just as expensive as the girls, what with thier $100 team sports jerseys and $200 shoes. Girl teenager dress clothes are expensive, but guy teenagers have to spend $300 just to hang out and shoot hoops in the alley!

Then there are the raging hormones to deal with- the screaming and crying for girls, the libido and rage of boys. Being the parent of teens is not for whimps. It's nerving racking and expensive even in the best of times. And my kids are good kids. My trips to the emergency room were: 1 broken nose, one broken ankle, one shovel to the head requiring stitches, one large gaping hand wound where I had to lie to the doctor and tell him that the boy was my son instead of my son's friend cause I couldn't send him home at midnight with a huge unstitched bloody wound and he was afraid to tell his parents. Their brushes with the law included one bail the kid out of jail for throwing eggs on Halloween, a few minorish fender benders, and several tickets and court apperances. Quite a mild list for 4 kids.

Anyway, enough self torture. I'm looking forward to the good years now. I'm old, I've survived, I've grown wize. I deserve to rest and enjoy the Era of Young Adults.

Except, I think Zaman may stay an honorary teenager for a few more years. It seems some people have more angst and chaos in their lives than others.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I'm soooo embarrassed.

Last night, when we pulled the anniversary cake out of it's box, it said, "Happy 28th Anniversary"! Owl informed us that since we were married in '76, this was not our 29th anniversary. I feel as if I've been getting congratulations under false pretenses! *hangs head in shame*

It's not my fault that God made my brain with a defective memory chip. I wanted to send it back for an upgrade, but that involved removing and placing in a cardboard box! *ouch*

Hubby doesn't help either, infact, he exasperates the problem. Like the time I was 25 1/2 years old. I was a verrrry harrried mother of 3 pre-school children. He looked at me one day and said, "How old are you, 27, right?" I very innocently replied, "I am?! It seems like just yesterday that I was only 25." Now you may not believe any sentient adult could be so out-of-it or so gullable to believe such misinformation, but he was the one with the good memory and I was the faulty one, so I believed him. Well, it took me a few months before I sat down and did the math, and realized I was only 25, but by then the idea of being 27 was burned in my brain. For years, whenever I considered my age I kept forgetting I was not 27. I stayed 27 for about 4 years. Sad, but true.

So, with such a past history, it's pretty easy to believe I couldn't remember my own anniversary count.

We did have a good time. Hubby bought me a pink guava and a pomegranate tree. We planted them in the back yard. I'd like to wax romantic about pomegranates being a "passion fruit" and us and our grand-children enjoying the visable signs of our love for each other, but we're moving out of the country in a few months and will probably never see the fruit of either tree. Our ever-loyal doggie, Wafadar, tried to dig up the first tree while we planted the second. lol

The girlies returned that afternoon from a 5 day party-frenzy in Lahore. They were dehydrated, sleep-deprived and dead tired, but they brought flowers and a cake. The girls threatened, coaxed and banged the oven into working and we had pizza for dinner, followed by the cake.

For after dinner entertainment we played badmitten on the new backyard lawn. I'm sure the gardner will tell us to keep off the grass till it gets stronger when he comes tomorrow. The evening was topped with a mono-e-mono grudge match of scrabble which I narrowly won. I'm thinking tomorrow, I'll bust the electric curlers outa storage, and try to make my limp and lifeless perm-from-hell fried hair look presentable for a studio shot of the two of us.

Quick side note: As I was tooling about town today, I was passed by a black Suzuki Mehran that I sware was driven by General President Musharrif himself! All those helicopters buzzing overhead and VIP motorcades are just decoys. Now you know.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Evryboddy sing.. ah one, ah two, ah three...I'm forever baking brownies.
How come there's no music notes on my computer. I'm always wishing I had music notes.)

All of Blogistan must celebrate two events with me:
1) My oven decided to start working after an long period of deciding NOT to work.

2) October, 4th is my 29th wedding anniversary.

So, as the smell of brownies gently wafts through the house, I am busy blogging. My hubby hasn't smelled the brownies yet. He doesn't approve of sweets, plus I've nagged him enough about his growing gut that he's finally on a serious diet. Months ago my oven developed a wilfull disposition. Sometimes it worked, sometines it didn't. Hubby insists that since it's an imported oven with the modern inconvience of a "Glow bar" the local repairmen here won't have a clue how to fix it and may do more harm than good.

Opps, I've been discovered! Hubby just called down,"Are you baking something, ten minutes are left on the timer."

I continue: So, we females of the house believed him to be right in this situation and we have stopped trying to use the oven because it stopped working. We really missed it too. Baking American sweets is a big part of who we are here. When we entertain we always have our own homebaked goodies. (Often I and the 2 daughteries each baked one item and we had a desert tray to rival any 5 star restaurant in Pakistan.) And of course, just how long can an American family go without homemade pizza? So, having a working oven is something TRUELY worth celebrating. *timer beeps*

I'm back after pulling a perfectly done tray of brownies, warm and aromatic enough to be called sensual, out of the oven. *scratch here*

Now on to celebration #2 - 29 Years of a racially, culturally and religiously mixed marriage! While it is truely a cause for celebration, it's also a time of reflection. Tonight at dinner I reminded Hubby of tomorrow's event. He said, "You don't have to remind me, 29 years ago I did something that changed my life."
I was about so appologize, but before I could he continued, "And I don't regret it. You do sometimes, don't you."

"Yes", I admitted.

The one great thorn in my side is that 29 years ago I married a wonderful Muslim man. He was(and is) the kindest man I've ever known and is still my best friend... (and here's the BUT) But, I thought I could convert him to my faith within 6 months. I've had to raise my kids as Muslim, a faith I have no belief in.
The only comfort I have, is he thought he would have me converted quickly too, but I've kept the faith, so to speak. OF all the mixed marriages I've known ours is the only one where both parents are active, faithful followers. Most of these marriages that last are between non-practicing partners, or one partner converts (at least socially) to the other's faith. In the case of a Muslim husband, the wife usually converts because it is a capital crime in Islam to convert to another faith.

Anyway, I try not to dwell on the negative, cause I got one of God's choicest men as my partner, friend and lover. And in spite of strong beliefs in different faiths, we love each other, support each other and try to stick together. That is really something to celebrate.

So, Diet Pepsi and brownies for everyone at my blog today.