Tuesday, October 6, 2009

looking up

Usually really horrible days are followed by good days or, at least, reasonable, manageable, okay days. Yesterday was a really horrible day and today is good, reasonable, manageable and okay. Thank God.

I will not tell all that happened yesterday. Claire and I went to the embassy. That was fine. Long, but fine. Claire got smacked by a three-year-old and I had my first moment of really judging another mother as she just sat there staring straight ahead. Fast forward. We are home, eating couscous. Claire likes couscous and what she likes even better is taking the fork or spoon and getting the couscous into her little mouth all by herself. Most of the time, I don't care if breakfast, lunch or dinner takes forty minutes to eat. Last night I was feeding her with one hand and pecking keys on the laptop with another, trying to figure out exactly how to get her birth certificate authenticated by the Kuwait Embassy in the States.

Another long story.

Fast forward and I notice that Claire is dumping couscous all over. She's very good at this. It is a little after five o'clock and Justin is taking a shower after coaching JV girls' soccer practice and I have already yelled something about




when Claire tosses her couscous into the air and I find a webpage that informs me it might cost $123 for a LOUSY STAMP on her birth certificate and I turn to Claire, pick up the bowl of couscous and dump it on the floor.

"There, it's done now!" I said and burst into tears. And now, what Claire's little forkfuls of joyfully tossed couscous can do, I see, is nothing compared to what a frustrated woman with an entire bowl of couscous can do. I go to find the broom, sobbing. Justin comes out of the bathroom and doesn't even ask.

"You need to pull yourself together. Go lay down."

"I'm FINE. I just - I just - I want this to be done." I gesture at everything. Because everything is my problem of the moment. The paperwork that we should have already done and are now completing from overseas - oh, I thought it was too easy when we sent just Justin's paperwork to the Kuwait Embassy. Justin's coaching - which is a wonderful opportunity for him and I really am glad he gets a chance to coach again but it also means I have Claire to myself for twelve hours a day. Ack! Taxis were another problem of the moment, our taxi guy being quite wishwashy about whether or not I could leave the carseat in the taxi and the SAME taxi could pick me up at the embassy after my appointment. Boy, yeah, that is a problem. "I wish I had my own car," I told Shamsu, and then, "I'll pay extra. Pleeeeze."

So Justin barricaded himself in the kitchen and stuffed Claire full of bread while cooking us spaghetti and washing dishes. Wow. I was on the phone with an agency that promised fast authentications from the Kuwait Embassy in DC and I thought I was actually on the phone with the Kuwait Embassy itself when the guy said, "If you are not willing to pay two hundred and twenty-five dollars then I cannot help you!" and slammed down the phone.

I collapsed for the fortieth time that day. I called back and got a message that - I really wish I was making this up and now it's funny, but at the time I thought: Claire and I will be home for Christmas (and that thought was very appealling) - the message went something like this: We are unable to answer the phone. Do not leave a message since we will not return your call. We are too busy.

I'm gulping and feeling stupid for throwing couscous all over the floor and wondering WHEN exactly I will be an adult and not do things like tell the taxi cab driver that I wish I had my own car or sob over paperwork. I call back and beg him not to hang up and get a list of reasons why it's so expensive to authenticate a birth certificate - two of those reasons being something about power of attorney and downtown traffic. While he's jabbering on, I look at the website more carefully and find a note at the bottom saying this outfit is not affiliated with the official Kuwait Embassy. Ack!

Where do I find that number? I found it, got help from a very nice gentleman who sort of humphed when I told him who I'd been talking with, and spent another few minutes feeling stupid. I called Mom and then Dad, heroes of paperwork schlepping for their adult child, and hung up feeling relieved and, yes, still stupid.

In the kitchen, Claire was happy and Justin was draining spaghetti and I apologized about fifteen billion times and we spent the rest of the evening watching an episode of Numbers. I felt so exhausted I was numb.

This morning I looked at the stovetop espresso maker we bought here. There's a little screw thingy on its side that releases pressure so the whole thing doesn't blow to bits while pushing boiling water up through the grounds. And I thought: I need one of those. I need a little screw thingy on my side that keeps me from throwing couscous and sobbing uncontrollably about paperwork. Instead, I'll sort of pffft when the taxi guy says maybe I'll get my carseat back and then I'll just pffft when another kid hits mine and then I'll pffft when I'm waiting for Justin to please get home so that when some crazy hangs up on me for thinking $225 is a lot to pay for an authentication, I don't do pfffffffBOOOM!

Good thing I'm not committed to showing just my good side on this blog, right? So since today is indeed looking up: I got a lot done in the kitchen. Tomatoes stuffed with (oh, the irony) couscous, feta, garlic and green peas; homemade mac & cheese (freezer food!); and another big bowl of chocolate pudding, my current fix. I was really hoping to make it to November before sobbing uncontrollably. Ah, well.


Kelly G. said...

Thank you for always being so honest! I understand the long days with the kids to yourself when the husband is coaching and the being happy for him but wanting some time to yourself too! ( I am in the middle of that as we speak and it has caused more than one meltdown here too). Your wonderful mother has taught me that it is ok for GOOD moms to have meltdowns :) Eat some more chocolate pudding (and now I am hungry for that too...)

Anonymous said...

couscous is probably easier to sweep up if you leave it on the floor overnight, first.
i love you, sweet girl! mom

The Chapples said...

Oh man. What a day!

I hope things are going better for you. :)

DC Running Mama said...

I have to tell you, I have had my fair share of meltdowns in the past few weeks with moving/working/training. It's really HARD being a mom and being patient all the time. Last night Nathan was driving me beserk with not eating and throwing fits and I was getting so frustrated. I almost yelled at him. So, I poured myself a huge glass of wine and just sat down and let him have his way and tried to relax. Visualization helps in tense times...imagine yourself letting the issue go like a balloon floating up into the sky...Hugs. I can imagine how frustrating it is dealing with a different culture who has their own way of doing things and everything seeming 10x more complicated than it has to be!

Angela and David Kidd said...

I so can relate to those days where you just want to explode, but I think would have exploded a lot earlier than you. Sometimes it all just seems like too much and there's nothing that will make you feel that why like dealing with red tape.

Glad things are looking up for you!

N.D. said...

oh my, it sounds like a v frustrating day. I would have thrown the bowl at the wall very earlier than you did!

Anonymous said...

heroes of paperwork schlepping for their adult child ... sounds good on paper, but really it isn't such a chore. I really must look up that word "schlepping" as I am sure I do some of that somewhere in life ...