Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Long overdue...

This post is dedicated to Tracy, who reminded me that I need to post more. I know I should, but time seems to pass too quickly!

Work has been ok, my little charge was still recovering from the flu last week, and so wasn't terribly energetic and was even less able to communicate. He had a tantrum last Friday that started before I got there. It turned out he was hungry, but unable to say it, and so lots of tears and screaming ensued. Thank god his mom was able to help me for the first half hour or so. I'm going back tomorrow, so I'm hoping he's all better and ready to play.

The other thing about work is, it feels great to finally be earning some money, even though it's not much. It makes me feel a bit more like a functioning member of society.

In other news, I finished another book this past week! Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach. Great book, both hilarious and educational. If you haven't done so, go get a copy and get reading. The book I read before Stiff was World Without End by Ken Follett, which was so much like Pillars of the Earth it was almost annoying. Still, totally addictive and wonderful. Right now, I'm on Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik, which is such an inspiration to me. It's about an expat American in Paris, there are so many things I can relate to, and I just love it. Thanks for the recommendation, Kathleen!

So I suppose I should take this opportunity to talk about the weekend, which was really fabulous. Friday night we were totally lazy, but we made up for it on Saturday! Between cleaning, grocery shopping, baking and partying there was almost no time left to sit down! After grocery shopping Miguel and I went to this awesome store, HEMA (kind of like a Dutch Target). I got this great fish sticker book and a kinder egg (chocolate egg with a toy inside)... And yes, I am still about 5 years old. After all the errands I made chocolate chip cookies, we ate dinner, and set off for the party and Fionnuala and Siobhans'!

I don't really know where to start on the party. I'll say this, the beer and wine were flowing freely, as was the conversation in at least 4 different languages. The cookies were a huge hit. We tried to do some group Irish dancing at around 1 or 2am, which I'm sure the neighbors were thrilled about. Chocolate was hidden in bras. There was an argument about which TV show was better, Married with Children or According to Jim. Classical music came on the ipod, and we all decided it was too posh for our party. And the rest was just general nonsense. Fun was had by all. Almost the entirety of Sunday was spent recovering.

Sunday evening we had people coming over, Rachel and Chris (Rachel works with Miguel) and I got it into my head to cook! I made sticky chicken, rice and green beans! The sticky chicken was pretty awesome. I haven't had it in years, and it reminded me of when I was little and ate it, and would have a plate full of bones and soiled napkins. We ate it in a more civilized (or should I switch to UK English? civilised?) way that night, but Miguel and I ate the leftovers the next day and had sauce from ear to ear.

By the way, sorry (esp. sorry to Anna Cima) for the lack of pictures in this post. I don't have the right pictures to illustrate things, my camera has been used mostly for photographing the cats. I swear I'm not obsessed...

Oh! I totally forgot the biggest news of the last 2 weeks! We got new heaters!! Ones that really work, and are cheap and keep us warm and are not smelly! Our apartment is almost too warm!

Now, I don't know if I've talked about the ordeal it's been getting these heaters, but it's been insane. I started trying to obtain 2 new ones (out of the 3 in the apartment, the one in the bathroom worked, the one in the kitchen would be on for about 10 minutes, and shut off and stay off, the one in the living room gave off a horrible smell) in October. We had several visits from Fernando, the building maintenance man, who then got the flu. A couple weeks later he says he can't fix them anyway, we need to call the gas company. That appointment took over a month to get, and then they said well, we won't have new ones for you until late January or early February. Great. That's winter. So we had to get these electric heaters that the landlord paid for, but they cost a pretty penny to run, but we have yet to get that bill.

Now, the arrival of these new heaters was a much anticipated event, the only problem was the installation itself. Service here in Brussels leaves something to be desired. The guys smelled very strongly of cigarette smoke and BO, were noisy as hell and made a total mess of the apartment. I was asked to help them break down a box (I'm pretty sure it's not my job...) and they left another huge box in the kitchen for me to deal with for myself. They didn't do a thing with the old heaters and left them in the hallway. They scared the shit out of the cats, and even let one out who I had to chase down the stairs. The heaters also smelled awful when first turned on, so I had to open all the windows. But I will say this. All of that doesn't matter now that I can be warm. I love them and would go through it all ten times over to have these heaters.

Anyway, I should probably wrap this up. To those of you that have made it this far, kudos to you. To Anna Cima, who I'm pretty sure hasn't made it here... for shame. I will try to post more frequently from here on out. :-)

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