Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ten Legs in the Shower (by Josh)

                There are few things that send me on the express train to Weenieland quite as quickly as the sight of a giant spider.  As it turns out, my ticket was for today.  But before I go into great detail, let me just say that I have made great strides in conquering my arachnophobia, chiefly out of a desire not to pass this neurosis on to my children (there are plenty of others that are already firmly implanted in their psyches, so I’m trying to limit the scope and number). 
For example, while out on a field trip today, we stopped by the tourist mall for some key chains.  One of the neatest souvenirs in there was a glass case with a huge, hairy forest spider.  Given that it was dead, and with a piece of glass in between me and said arachnoid, I was cool as a cucumber.  “Hey kids, check this out,” I said, handing them the case and pointing out the fascinating parts of the arachnid anatomy.  It was a wonderful biology lesson and I was rather proud of myself.
                Fast forward several hours and I’m walking into the bathroom at home.  I switch the light on and freeze.  In the far corner, just above the shower head, is an absolutely gargantuan, seemingly hairy, black spider.  This monster was at least four inches across and sent me scurrying back into the hallway.  I knew that Jesse (my good friend and housemate) had killed a large spider with our bug spray before, so I enlisted his support in the necessary arachnacide. 
                “Dude, I think it’s a Brown Huntsman,” he said.  “I killed one outside your bedroom window last month and looked it up.  They’re harmless.”  As this conversation went on, deciding whether or not to ixnay the iderspay, all I could think about was that the longer we waited, the greater chance homeboy would scatter, probably setting up shop right under the toilet, poised, waiting for me at my most vulnerable moment.
                “The website says many people let them stay around the house because they get rid of pests like roaches and silverfish,” he went on.
                “Well, I’ve lived with roaches and silverfish,” I reasoned, “and gross as they may be, neither of them inspire fear in me.  Gas that *#*@&*.”
                Now that the curled up, poisoned remnants rest securely in a plastic baggy, hanging from a magnet right next to the flying cockroach and other bugs in our fridgeside collection, I wonder if I did the right thing.  An essentially harmless spider, scared of humans, simply wanted to chip in around the house, helping with pest control.  Well, maybe next time I’ll let the thing live.  Then again, maybe not.
Speaking of spiders helping out, here’s an example on a massive scale.  Spiders or mosquitos, always a tough call.
It looked bigger in person. I swear.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

And then there were nine.

A wheel now constantly spins during the wee hours of the morning when our newest housemate exercises. Leonardo, named after "the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle" (according to Max) is a hamster. Yes, we purposefully brought a rodent into our home. I'm still unsure why. Something about kids and pets.
Little Zora is also learning the responsibilities of keeping a living thing, well--alive. Her beta fish (Max calls it a Samurai fish) has been lovingly named Sharley TiTi Rousculp. "But we just call her Titi, okay Mama?" says my sweet four-year old.
Fresh out of the box from the pet shop. The toothless wonder is beside himself.

Leonardo checks out his new pad.

'Lil Zee and her Titi.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Best Apology. Ever.

Max apparently spent a good part of the day in time-out. Quite honestly, some days I could use a time-out or two as well. Upon my return home, Josh invoked his "tag-team" rights and I took over. Having been completely unaware of the previous 8 hour saga, I decided to simply leave him in time-out until dinner was ready (about 20 minutes away). First, however, I brought him a paper & pen and said, "Maybe you can write an apology letter to your Papá while you wait." And I left.
Moments before dinner, Max shuffled out of the bedroom and handed this to Josh:
Translation: "Hi Papa. I'm very sorry and I love you so much."

<3 melted.


"The DR is almost better than the States," Max told a recent visitor. I exhaled. Our first two months here it seemed as though every one of our conversations ended with my offspring questioning our motives.
Me: "You can't drink the water here. It could make you sick."
Me: "You can't take warm baths here, there isn't a water heater. Sometimes you can't take baths at all because the water gets shut off."
Me: "You can't walk around barefoot, there are bugs here that can hurt you."
Max & Zora, often in unison, after every little chat, "Why did you bring us here?!"
'Lil Z has yet to sign on to our move. I hope she just needs a bit more time. And maybe some friends.
Josh seems to be adjusting nicely. He moved often enough as a child for it not to be a total shock to his system.
As for me? It took me over a year to adjust fully to the Yakima Valley when Josh and I married. Another two years to fully adjust to our lives in Woodburn. The first time I moved, in my life, I was 18. I'm not good at this. Recognizing this weakness has got me aching for an answer: Is this home? If home is where the heart is, what happens if your heart is all over the place?

In the moments before I fall asleep, I feel home. I forget about how different everything is. I forget that we're starting over in so many ways. I forget about all the obstacles we have put before ourselves just by moving here. I forget. And I am home.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

Two jobs is taking its toll. I'm behind. In everything--even responding to friend's emails. Pathetic. Three more weeks of double time. You bet I'm counting the days. If you're just tuning in, I accepted an online job when my current job gave me an ultimatum I couldn't deliver on. The only catch was that they overlapped for about 7 weeks. Homestretch, baby.
Despite the mounting workload, I took today off. Entirely. No work. Today, Bahá'ís around the world celebrated the birth of Bahá'u'lláh, Prophet Founder of the Bahá'í Faith.
We prayed, we sang, we ate a leisurely lunch, created lovely things, sang some more, celebrated with others and went out on the town. Love. Joy. Contentedness.
Posts will continue at alarmingly slow rates until December, when I can share some very exciting news. I can't wait!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Two families living in a large house has many wonderful perks. Our kids play, fight and learn together as siblings. We hang out after kiddybedtime, laughing and talking. We have a cell phone family plan. We split the rent (niiiiiice). Someone is always home to wave goodbye when you leave, or open the door when you come home. There are any number of undesirable aspects to living with others as well. It turns out there are a great many things that one cannot simply assume. You've got to talk to each other. Communicate. Consult.
Consultation is a fairly amazing process. Not every consultation I've ever been a part of has ended with rainbows and unicorns. It takes practice, and the proper focus. But I've witnessed this glory enough times to be willing to continue all attempts. Trifle as it may be, a housemate consultation on the divvying up of housework (read: undesirable aspect) ended in such a way.
The following is our chore agreement:
Everyone shares the cooking, Josh exempt.
Everyone shares the cleaning of the floors, myself exempt.
Everyone shares the grocery shopping, Martine exempt.
Everyone washes dishes, Jesse exempt.
Its nice to live with responsible adults. Half of them look like this (the other half seems to be sneakier about being photographed):

He also cooks some mean carnivorous dishes and offers general merriment.
This one never stops. Laundry, kids, cleaning, massages (sorry, for the wife only),  and  lots 'o joy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Feels Like... Brains.

"Don't knock on anybody's door and ask for candy here, Miss," one of my students warned.
I giggled at his concern, "Why not?"
"They'll think you're crazy!" he told me, eyes wide and serious. Apparently, he doesn't think very highly of my ability to differentiate between my own culture and the one I'm immersed in.
Alas, Halloween is not celebrated here in our adopted island life. I didn't know it was October anyway. And all of a sudden its not October anymore (this lack of weather change has thrown everything off. Happy birthday, sweet Sarah Mac!). Maybe I'll catch you next year, good 'ol month ten.
The Rousculp clan did manage to find a corner of the city where Halloween is recognized. One home in particular where a mummy, a bunny, a baseball player and a princess were welcomed in when we knocked on the door. I found another American. She happens to love Halloween. And is overall, a fabulous & wonderful person. You see how nicely it works out?

My children were kind and opted for "costumes" with no assembly required.
Marvelous Melanie, Halloween lover, organized enough activities to create at least 82 memories. 
My Toothless Wonder had trouble bobbing.

Rock Star Adilani helped Z with her candy corn craft.

Musical chairs? Yes, please. Adan, the Green Lantern, took the prize.

The 20 & under crowd. The 80s princess (I'm a sucker for pink leg warmers) and the  'lil king were naturals.

Do you want to feel something gross?
It feels like brains (read: cold spaghetti)!

A brave rock star took the lead in feeling the heart (read: peeled tomato).

The mummy thought the skin (read: tortilla with oil on it) was horrifying.

You thought your flat screen was hot.

My dear Ada reminded me of the first time Zora tried a lime when she touched the "heart". Fav pic of the night.