Fine Print

I am in a bit of a frustrated snit today.

As some of you may recall, two weeks ago Z's name came up to receive a loan for a certain amount from the government towards the purchase of a home for us. The loan amount is repayable at very reasonable monthly installments for what seems like forever. A great opportunity, huh?

Yeah, we thought so too. But it would seem there are a few snags. Or speedbumps.

Man is that the understatement of the month!

Snags my sweet ass. The fine print is a bitch, I tell you. What follows is sure to give my Bahraini readers a real chuckle, since I rarely rant on the situation here (ok. Other than the currently changing and re-done infrastructure.) But I just HAVE to get this off my chest, cause, well, I'm pissed.

Great. They will give us BD (Bahraini Dinar) 40,000. which is the maximum amount given to purchase an existing house. Thank you very much. Awfully kind of you. It is most appreciated. Granted it IS more than we have to hand, but still, there are a few weeee problems.

Ready for the catch (es)? Here you go:

1) You have 3, yes THREE months to find a place to buy that the government approves of. (yes, they must do an inspection and approve the purchase.)
2) If at the end of 3 months, you have not found a place to purchase, you must go to the Ministry and do some SERIOUS ass kissing to get a 3 month extension that they may or may not give to you. If they don't give you the extension guess what happens? (see 3 below)
3) They take the money they have allotted for you away and give it to someone else. Well shit. Move your ass then Scarlett, right? I HAVE BEEN! I HAVE BEEN! But I'm not quite done yet.
4) The government started this program in the mid-late 70's. With the same amount allotments. (See where I'm going with this? You're smart. I bet you do!) Yeah. The allotments have not been increased in a coon's age. Unfortunately or fortunately for people that bought up land and houses way back when, they are rolling in it now and making a killing, because property is freaking SKYROCKETING y'all. Good for them. But me and Z and all the other suckers that got their money this year? We're fucked.
5) Because now? You can't buy jack shit for BD 40,000., that's why. I'm serious. Diddly squat. So take a mortgage loan, you're thinking right? Not so fast smarty-pants. Because now we get to some serious fine print.
6) No bank will give you a mortgage loan for the remainder of a house you want to buy because: The government holds the deed to the house until you've paid them off and they don't like to share. Nope. So. The commercial bank wants the deed too. So. NUH-uh. A private loan then? Oh don't worry, we thought of that too. Small, itsy bitsy problem.
7) The new law that takes effect on SATURDAY, January 1, 2005. This law does not let you take a personal loan for more than BD20,000. Which guess what? Still, really isn't enough to buy anything. I. shit.you.not. *grrrrrrrr, cussing, grrrrrr* I saw a house that was almost as old as I am (and not in as good a condition! Heh. Ok, seriously? It looked like it was gonna fall down any day now.) that was… BD75,000. (For those of you that thought you heard cursing on the wind, it was me, don't worry, you're not hearing things.)
8) The company you work for has to be on an approved "list". Of which, Z's company, is not. Hence, we've gotten more "sorry Z, you have a great salary, but Fock off cause we don't recognize XYZ Co." remarks from the banks than I care to admit. (and Bahraini's, yes, this is WITH wassta – translation: Connections) We are still waiting to hear from one last one. Pray, willya?

Overall, the Government needs to wake the hell up and realize that these loans, while given with all good intentions, DON'T REALLY DO SHIT ANYMORE. They need to up the anty, basically. If you want to help the people, HELP THE PEOPLE, don't fuck them anymore than they already are. Jeez.


So my job, beyond finding a house and calling what people I know? People I've called. Wracked my brain for a solution I've done. Houses? I've got a couple picked out but the price is increasing by the week and they are selling like hotcakes. Seriously. There is still the house I've been enamored with for 6 years but now? The owner is being kinda bitchy and wants to play games. Ugh. Does that sound very smart on her part seeing my mood and my experience in the real estate market in the US? Um, no. I can rattle off to her FACE 20 reasons why she shouldn't even TRY and up the price on a house that she hasn't been able to offload in 6 years despite the fact that it is very well designed and built. (No 1 is that it is more a western style, which doesn't really appeal to all that many locals) She probably thinks I put "the eye" on it and that is why it hasn't sold. Pshaw. It isn't my fault that when I walked in there those years ago when it was under construction I felt I had come home and instantly fell in love with it? No, it sure isn't. Z felt the same when he saw it.

But wait, I'm jumping ahead of myself, because guess what? That house has never cost 40,000! So, before I whip her butt into submission, I need some ammo, ie: money, ie: the damn loan from the commercial bank.


Then, tonight,Z had this bright idea for the umpteenth time that I should ask my Dad for the money.

After I inquired if he was high on something,HAAAAAAH! ,in my head I thought "Sure, he will give me that money to hand over to you to buy a house that cannot legally have my name on it!" So I explained the following to him. That honestly? I know better than to ask for more than one reason. 1) His standard answer is "you have a husband now, it isn't my job any more." which, really, is true. 2)Not that I really ask him for anything, because, well, I know my Dad like the back of my hand. Dad is an excellent one for excuses. I mean, when I really needed some help and was in a bad way, he knew it, and just said "oh, that's too bad" and changed the subject. Not that I asked, cause, well, I'm not STUPID, and why set myself up? But I did hint strong enough to knock an elephant over. 3) His second favorite reply to or about me is "She made her bed, and now she has to lie in it..." yadda yadda yadda. This is standard reply for all 4 of his children once they hit the age of 18.

Also? What I DIDN'T tell Z so as not to hurt his feelings, was that in case I did ask him to give money for the house, there is another reason he wouldn't give it, no matter how many painkillers he had injested that day. 4)He would ask" Is SHE going to live in it?" (MONSTER) and, all of you know the answer, so, his answer, when he stopped laughing would be" HELL NO! You want me to give money to you to buy a place that doesn't have your name on ONE share of the deed, to give a place for that witch (ok, he uses the B word to refer to her) to live and continue to make you miserable? I know you are smarter than that!" SO, I also had to deal with Z pouting like a 3 year old that didn't get a toy he wanted because I refuse to humiliate myself in that way. Trust me, there is nothing worse than MY Dad laughing at me and wondering when I got hit up the side of the head with a stupid stick when he wasn't looking.

So, no loan from Daddy. (If my Mama read this, she will laugh her butt off, cause she knows NO WAY he would help and that I'm right with all my reasoning!!) Because, well, he is smart and logical. Oh btw dad, can you just wire over 115,000 bucks? Thanks a lot.

Stupid stick indeed! Now back to more logical and intelligent plotting.

Just so you know, we did have the idea that if we can't buy a house with that money, perhaps we can buy a piece of land. Small, itsy problem. It's almost impossible to find a piece of land for sale for less than 60,000. So still? We are Screwed, with yes, a capital S.

If anyone has any bright ideas, let me know, hmmm? Cause I'm fresh out, and in these things, I'm usually pretty damn good.


At the strike of midnight on December 31, I'm watching my dreams of a house disintegrating. Fucknugget.

Happy New Year Y'all. *smooch*


I am completely blown away by the sheer magnitude of what I see on CNN and BBC World hour by hour.

Something like 160,000 people dead and thousands still missing. I watch the home videos, and listen to the stories in macabre fascination. Watching video of the water overtaking the beaches, hotels, streets, people, cars, everything in its path.

Tonight I listened to a beautiful little American girl about 9 years old describe the sound of the water coming behind her as she and her 5 year old sister and parents ran. Fortunately, they all survived it. Others were not so lucky. Many, many others still are missing. I'm sure there are areas that haven't even been visited yet with more dead just waiting to be found.

I pray for the people, regardless of religious denomination or nationality that have been affected by this horrible tragedy.

I can only hope, perhaps naively, that the world will learn from this tragedy and come together, or at least try harder, but sadly, I doubt they will. It doesn't hurt to hope though, does it?


Inquisition Confession – Week 11

I hope that everyone that celebrated Christmas received just what they wanted under the tree.

In the true spirit of the holiday season, and the upcoming New Year's celebrations to ring in 2005, Mare asked me a truly appropriate question this week:

"What is the most embarrassing thing you've done while drunk?"

Well honey. The thing is this. I don’t think I've ever been really drunk. Tipsy like hell, yes. Drunk off my ass, um no. I handle my liquor-when I drink it- pretty well.

How about the most embarrassing thing while tipsy instead?

Hmmmm. Only thing I could come up with was at my going away party when I was moving to Bahrain from L. A. My friends from work and I went to this really happening Italian restaurant in Pasadena that also had a separate entrance for the attached bar. It was a huge bar, I tell you, with….. Karaoke. A huge, full karaoke set up on a stage. The whole shabang.

Anyhoooo, I had been drinking something yummy, something like a whiskey sour, but I can't remember what now…(7 yrs, sue me!). I had ingested SEVERAL. On top of those? One of my friends and coworker, John, kept giving me jello shooters. (This was my first and only experience with jello shooters) Eventually, they got me slappy enough to get up on stage in front of this packed bar with a couple of the girls from work as back up and I sang. I'm seriously trying to remember what I sang, but it escapes me at the moment. I do remember that I, and my back up singers, were really into the song tho.

How's that Mare?

This week, Cheryl b killed me. Seriously. I totally love this woman. She is something else! It wasn't WHAT she asked me, but what she wrote along with her question. Check it out!

What's the nicest present that you have ever gotten (besides Ari)? This year for Christmas Mark got me FOUR of my favorite vibrators since I kind of wore my last one out and he wanted me to have plenty of extras. Does that man know me well or what?

Ahem! Well. I certainly never got such an invigorating gift that is for DAMN sure! (four of your favorite? Out of curiosity, exactly how many favorites do you have?) Why is it that I now have the episode of Sex in the City where Samantha killed her new vibrator from The Sharper Image and argues with the salesman when she goes to exchange it stuck in my head now? *sigh*

The most thoughtful gift I ever received for Christmas was the recipe book from my Aunt Arlene that she had copied my deceased Nana's Christmas cookie recipes into by hand. She did it about two years after Nana's passing. It was probably the best most thoughtful gift. I sat there with tears rolling down my cheeks like Niagara Falls for a good long while, all choked up.

I was very blessed in that my parents and my Nana and Aunt (of the recipe book fame. Dad's sister) were all very generous at Christmas and throughout the year. (Yes mama, if you're reading this, you are STILL GENEROUS! You know what I mean!)

I was a good one for asking for outrageous things for Christmas and they all did their best to get me what I asked for when possible. So many Christmases to think back on.

The one thing that comes to mind is that I answered, when asked by Aunt Arlene again (poor thing. But, she never had kids. So, I'm children and niece all rolled up in one) what I wanted for Christmas, and I really REALLY wanted a fancy schmancy camera. A real camera. You know. The kind with big ass zoom lenses and whatnot. Never mind that she is a real shutterbug as a hobby, so I appealed to that side of her, no? *snicker*. I said that's what I wanted, never really thinking she would get me one so very expensive if at all. But I was of the mindset that ,"Well! You asked!". If you know what I mean?

So I was totally floored when she got me this great Cannon camera! It was so kick ass! I was really blown away with shock Christmas morning.

But, as an aside, my very favorite Christmas memory is my first Christmas with Arianna. (So yes, you were right there!) She was 3 months old. Never mind that she slept through it. That she was so healthy and beautiful and looked just like a little cherub (Nana's nickname for her only great-grandchild) asleep surrounded by presents under the tree with the fireplace roaring adjacent to the tree with all the decorations and pine garland on the mantle was the very best gift of all.

When I look at pictures of Christmas 1993 of me in front of the tree Christmas morning, I had no idea that Arianna was already growing inside me at that very moment. I didn't find out until December 28, 1993 that I was pregnant.

Well then. Last, but definitely not least we come to Carrie Jo. I'll get her for this.

When you start going grey will you dye your hair? And if so, for how long?

I figured if I don't answer Carrie Jo's question fairly honestly, I'm probably going to hell. So. Here goes nothing.

I. Already. Do. (You are SO gonna get it, woman!)

I have been dying my hair THIS shade of red… (Wait. Someone dear to me said that I should not describe my hair as red but as RED!!!) since I was around 17 after much experimenting. It feels natural to me and I forget it isn't. In fact, my hair was this shade of red at birth. My hair was red (!!!) until I was about a year or so when it went PLATINUM. (We are talking Monroe platinum here!) Mama said her Aunties were quite red also, so it's in the familiy!

My natural hair is much the shade of Arianna's with some major differences. (oh yeah. Hers is dark golden blonde) My differences are this: I have a gazillion natural tones in my hair, from platinum to red and lots of shades in between. A load of strawberry, actually. So my hair is more strawberry blonde than anything. But. With my complexion? I look washed out as hell. So washed out that Casper would be an appropriate nickname. I have milky pure white Irish skin. Arianna, on the other hand, has lovely peaches and cream skin tone just like my mom, so her color is perfect on her. My Dad's mother (Nana) was completely white from her 40's I think, and I look a hell of a lot like her. So much so it's eerie and a pic I have of her throws Z every time. He forgets it isn't me!) Maybe I'll be prematurely white like Nana. The daily stress I'm under with you-know-WHAT/WHO, I'm surprised I haven't woken up with a full head of white yet! Heh.

Bottom line is this: If I'm grey/white…no one will ever know. Maybe when I'm much older I'll let it be white (we are talking over 65 people) or whatever, but somehow, I doubt it. Hell, when Nana passed away at 82, she was still putting a dark rinse on her hair and had been for the last 5 years or so! I'll never know what made her start dying her hair after having it white for so long, but she was an awfully feisty thing.

Thank you to my friends that gave me questions this week and to those of you reading the answers, as painful as ONE might have been to answer. In case I don't see you until next week ...

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2005!!!!!!!!!!!



Sometimes things happen that leave you amazed, perhaps even stunned or disgusted. Something like that happened to me in the car just now while listening to the local radio station.

There I was, driving along and minding my own business when I heard it. The theme song to Sesame Street. Ahhhh, this brings fond and happy memories, right?


You see, it sounded like the William Heung version of Sesame Street, only, somehow, infinitely worse if you can just try and imagine that. And that? Is. Just . WRONG.

Of course, just when I thought it couldn't possibly get any crappier than it was (yes, perversely, I was listening to it in stunned disbelief. I think I was in mild shock between you and me!), they cranked it up a notch….. or 10. Because then? It turned into something between garage music and speed metal.

It was at this point that I'd had just about all I could take and switched the channel.

You know? It was so very bad that, I would rather, given the choice, prefer to listen to Britney Spears-Federline *gag* butcher her versions of "I love rock and roll" "I can't get no (satisfaction)" AND "My Prerogative" back to back…. for…. hours. And that is something I just can't handle hearing on any given day, ya know? *shudder, gag, retch*


Read that as: "Oh SHIT!".

Damn, I completely forgot to whine.... erm, I mean, remind you all about this weeks' Inquisition! Since I'm a brainless twit this week, I'm extending the cut off time until Midnight Tuesday. Yeah, I know, that's um, TOMORROW night. That's a WHOLE extra 24 hours to ask me something people!

So. I know you are all probably hung over from too much Christmas frivolity, but SNAP OUT OF IT AND ASK ME SOMETHING.

This means you, Cheryl b., Carrie Jo, Mare, Catrina... and the rest of you lurking about. Give me a little late Christmas pressie, hmmm?

Ask me. Go on, you know you want to!!!


A Prayer

To begin with, I would like to take a moment to pray for the souls of all those that died yesterday in the horrible 9.0 magnitude Asia Quake and the resulting Tsunamis. My prayers are with the families of all those that were taken away from them in the blink of an eye as well.

At the time of my writing this, the death toll stands at 23,000 people with thousands still missing or unaccounted for.

I am also very grateful and would like to say a prayer of thanks that two of my friends who happen to be in Phuket, Thailand on vacation are still alive and not two of the many that have perished.

Yesterday, when I heard the news rolling in, I was a mess of nerves trying to call both guys. Neither call would go through. All right, perhaps it would be more accurate to say freaked out of my mind terrified. Thankfully, a few hours later, one of the guys got hold of his mother here and word got passed around that they were shaken up, but otherwise ok.

I can only imagine the stories they will have to tell when the finally get back home to Bahrain.

Unbeknownst to me, the grandfather of the triplets, my SIL's ex who Z and I are actually on very good terms with, is in Madras, India where the Tsunami's also hit. He said he is usually at that beach where all those people were swept out to sea, but fortunately he was still in his hotel that early in the morning, thankfully. He said that the wave came 1km or so inland, and his hotel is 5km inland. Which, when you think about it, is not that far. *shudder*

So today, as I watch CNN in morbid fascination, with new video footage of the devastation of yesterday rolling incessantly, I am eternally grateful that the people that I know are safe.

I hope that none of you lost dear ones.
The Sweetest Thing

This morning I woke up to a surprise in my cell phone message Inbox that made me feel so good. What a wonderful way to wake up. It read:

"Good Morning Mom, I love you."

Awwwwwwwwwwww. That made me feel all warm and fuzzy (and no, it wasn't from my new jersey sheets, which are damn good all on their own, thankyouverymuch!!!) inside.

I love my baby girl.

The best thing is? I have it in WRITING… you know… proof… evidence. (hee hee) So that when she is telling me "I hate you" when I've told her "NO!!" twenty times or so to something (since I'm the bad guy disciplinarian around here)I can now say "Oh noooo you don't!!!!! See?"

Heh. Evidence. I love it.
The Day After

I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas yesterday and received your hearts desire. Or at least that laptop or digital camera you've been dying for!

Now it's the day after Christmas, which means hitting the 'After Christmas Sales' or returning that truly horrid gift that Aunt Mary gave you yesterday. I've heard and seen firsthand some scary scenarios the day after Christmas in retail stores as both one of the minions working retail once-upon-a-time in what seems like another life and as a consumer insane enough to brave going to a store on Dec 26.

For me though, December 26 has a different meaning aside from all the retail and holiday memories.

Today would have been my sister Shelly's 50th Birthday.

She has been gone these past 12 years now and I miss her very much. She died under suspicious circumstances all those years ago and yet it feels like yesterday that it happened. I miss her terribly.

My beautiful, tall, (5'11) slender, charming, intelligent, talented, funny, and oh so sweet big sister with the heart of gold. Shelly was the quintessential big sister in my mind and the one that I had dreamed of, begged for and prayed to God daily for throughout my early childhood before I knew she existed. God apparently DOES answer prayers.

See, Shelly (and my two half-brothers) are from my father's first marriage. It ended quite ugly and for various reasons, Shelly and I were kept away from each other. Shelly and our dad were at odds on top of the brainwashing and controlling attitude of her mother. Joey, the middle child, was problematic and very wild in his mothers care until she just couldn't handle him anymore and called Dad to come in and take him in control. That Dad did. He brought Joey to live with us when I was a little over 1 year old. Thank God for that. I became Joey's shadow, even as a toddler. Joey thrived and improved under Dad's strict rules and the love he got from my Mom and complete adoration from me. He always had time for me. Even so, for as long as I can remember, I had been harping at Mom for a sister. "Mama. I want a sister. Why don't you bring me a sister? Should I have a talk with Dad about this?" This was literally DAILY, a la Arianna. (So yes, I know exactly how she feels)

Joey got older and so did I. When I was about 4 Joey joined the Navy and left home and then I was alone, and my harping at Mom intensified.

I didn't even know Shelly existed… still. She had gone and gotten married very young and wasn't apparently in much contact with the family. Anyway…..

I remember clearly the day I found out about Shelly's existence. Mom was making my bed, (I think I'm about 4 years old) and I was on the other side of it and started my usual sister request and I guess poor mom got fed up. She looked at me across the bed and said quite clearly and full of exasperation: "You already HAVE a sister!". WHAMMO!! "I HAVE A SISTER?YAAAAAAAY!? Where IS she?"

Poor Mom suffered my interrogation, I got my details, but I found out no one knew where the heck she was, specifically. Ok. Close but no cigar. (See? I told you I'm determined! Heh.)

Years pass. Tenacious as a terrier, my desire to know my sister is not quenched. I told EVERYONE, Joey, Dad, my Aunt, and most particularly my Nana, (who, after my mom, was my LIFE) Nana was my confidant and whenever she was around, which was quite often, we were always together, with me nattering about this and that. Unbeknownst to me, Nana, believing that Dad was holding out info on us-and her in particular- feisty woman that she was, decided to hire a private detective to find Shelly for me.

The guy searched and searched until one day, when I was 11, Mama came home from work and told me she received a phone call that day at her office.

It was Shelly. Nana's private eye had found her, and on Nana's instructions, given her the contact info. Nana also spoke to her and told her just how badly I wanted my Big Sister. When Mom told me that Nana had hired a private eye to find Shelly for me and that she wanted to talk to me and write letters and see me, I was so thrilled. I was over the moon. My prayers answered.

We started talking and exchanging cards and letters. She was living back East at the time, had divorced her schmuck husband after 10 years and was getting on with her life. We were in Los Angeles.

As we got to know each other, I realized that she was everything I had dreamed of in a sister, in the flesh, and even more than I ever could have imagined. She was a lot like I wanted to be when I was older.

A professional equestrian rider since the age of 5, she adored horses and talked about them a lot. She, like me, loved all animals (ok, mostly). I talked to her about boys, and school and life in general; she gave advice and shared her own experiences with me. About this time Shelly moved to Europe. First to Paris, then a short stint studying and achieving her dream of training with the Lipizzaner Stallions in Austria, and then on to Malaga, Spain. Shelly was studying languages a little late in life and she figured that while studying at school, it was best for her to be immersed in the language.

She was so good about sending me pictures, and cards, and letters and calling me. She would try to write me a LONG letter at least once a month. We got close and she imparted perhaps not necessarily wisdom as much as her take on life, her good and bad experiences and her wonderful, intelligent and LOGICAL advice.

Eventually she moved back to the US to Virginia where she set up shop… literally. Some more years passed and I got married, which she was very against. I. Mean. Very. So much so that we were actually estranged for a little over a year when she died.

I think that is what hurt the most of all. No chance to say goodbye. (ok, chances missed never to be regained) No chance to mend broken fences. Perhaps we both took time for granted. Assumed we were both young, with our lives ahead of us. No chance to say one last time just how very much I loved her and adored her. But I think, that despite everything, in her heart, she knew. I certainly hope so.

Shelly's was the first death of someone I loved that I had to deal with and it taught me some valuable, painful lessons that, I think, made me a better person.

A year ago, I happened upon an old newspaper article interview on the internet of an old friend of Shelly's since they were teenagers. (God Bless Google!) This friend talked about her, the kind of person she was from her youth up through her adulthood. The way she was with people, children, and even animals. Her easy, infectious laughter. I noticed similarities between myself and Shelly from the description of her. Things I noticed myself and things about me that my friends that know me well say. I felt proud that I have at least some of her good qualities. I still feel proud.

So today, I just want to say: "I love you and always think of you my big sister. Happy Birthday Shelly."