Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekend Round Up

It was a banner weekend for Skittles.

First, Lili the Babysitter Extraordinaire came on Friday night. Both the girls adore her. But I am especially fond of her because not only does she get my kids to bathe, but she can get them to clean their room, too. Apparently, all she says is, "Let's have a look at your room" or "My, it's worse than ever, isn't it?" and they scurry about and BINGO! It's tidy.

On Saturday was the kermesse or school fun fair day. The sort of thing you LOVE as a kid but LOATHE as a parent. We were strongly encouraged to bring treats to share and to volunteer to man a booth/game/activity. I immediately volunteered to bring a cake, but this was my downfall. "Can we count on you to help with an activity for an hour or two?" came the reply. So you feel like a real shit if you say no. I warned them I needed something not terribly language intense as I can't produce French For Children very well. So I scored two hours on a bean bag toss-type activity.


In the rain.

It was bad enough slogging through the rainy Moscow streets dragging the cake plate while balancing my umbrella. Cramps in my hands make me cranky.

But the umbrella turned out useful for standing IN THE RAIN at the freaking bean bag toss. The other poor mom assigned along with me was incredulous. "There's NO ONE out here!" she said after we had dutifully stood out there for about an hour. A bunch of kids had come along (they get a card listing all the activities, and they have to get a check mark for having completed each one to qualify for a prize). But eventually there was no one. Just the two of us. Not even any other parents at any of the other outdoor activities.

The girls scored badminton sets, as did everyone else, for their completed cards. Just the thing for an apartment culture, right? (Turns out they make great tools for vexing cats.)

Then Skittles went to sleep over at her friend's house. And the next day (Sunday) they both went to a birthday party for a classmate.

The Spouse went to the restaurant where the party was being held to collect Skittles. He sent me the following SMS: "Party nowhere near done. Offensive pirate opens and critiques all gifts. Requires parents to add cash if he deems gift to be deficient."


Thankfully, Skittles' tribute merited little more than a "Heh" from the pirate. I was ready to tell The Spouse to open up a can of whoop-ass on him as Skittles had put a lot of time and consideration into selecting what she felt would be THE perfect gift for her friend.

But all was well.

So, to sum up: Lili, kermesse, sleep over, birthday party. That's about as good as it gets when you are 8 going on 9.

As for me, I get excited about things like this:

CAXAP is "sugar." How cool is that? Resealable/Pourable sugar. Maybe they have this where you come from, but this is the first time I have ever seen it, and it is such a good idea.

This is not such a good idea:

We have made some sort of switch at the grocery store where now we have to pay for grocery bags. I suppose this is to encourage recycling, which I am all for. But I am also all for a clean litter box. And those grocery bags are a great place to put what I have scooped out of said litter box.

Only, when they made the switch for Bags-For-Fee, they switched to larger grocery bags. Perhaps to assuage their guilt.

I liked the smaller ones better.

But now they sometimes give me these bags. "Oh, let me give you a pretty bag," they tell me.

There is no charge for these green bags (I suspect they were given to the grocery chain by the Sprite people). And they are very nice bags. Sturdy handles. Thick plastic.

They're just not very good as a receptacle for a couple of scooped cat turds.

There's just no pleasing some people, is there.


Todd T said...

In the sugar bag you mention, we can buy laundry detergent in Korea. It's definitely a good design.

The Flip Side. . .Or Maybe Not said...

Great sugar bag! The sugar bags here always have a hidden hole. You don't notice it till youre at the till getting ready to pay. Then you have to run back to get a new one. What a drag...Re. plastic bags. My first time in a Finnish supermarket, I had no idea you pay for the bags. Or that you have to pack your own bag. Giant Finnish cash register lady tried to stare me down. While I was giving her an equally nasty stare from behind my ginormous sunglasses. I was thinking, "Woman come on! Pack my bag!" Then Finnish hubby comes along, and says "Mee shell you have to put groceries in bag." OH! Well duh!Why didn't somebody say something? In Asia, they pack and carry it for you. It's part of the service.

katbat said...

sounds like a busy weekend! I like the mayo which comes in a similar pouch! :-)

The Expatresse said...

In Buenos Aires, you pay, get your frozen items like ice cream, and walk away. They deliver to your apartment . . . for FREE. I always tipped the guy. It was wonderful.

TRex said...

For sure plastic bags are handy for trash and other things but for shopping I always use my re-usable fabric carry all bags after a terrible incident where a plastic bag ripped and dropped my vodka bottles on the street breaking them. My tears of rage brought a sympathetic crowd that patted me on the back consoling me on my loss as I stood in the fumes rising from the hot pavement.

You could always get one of those babushka two wheel carts, hehe.

The Expatresse said...

Once upon a time, I was Weird Girl at the grocery store with my Trader Joe's bags and other re-usable cloth bags.

But I need the plastic ones for Cat Box Poo Patrol . . .

TRex said...

And of course Mrs. T has returned from Stockmann laden with heavy duty plastic bags which we will line our garbage bin with. I hang my head in shame.

The Expatresse said...

I went to pick up dry cleaning this morning and forgot to BYO big bags. So now I have two more!

valentina said...

Oh hell, why don't you take back a bunch of Kroger's bags from here at the end of the summer? They are light and won't take up much suitcase space!

Those pouring things are so smart and it will probably take about 5 years before we have them here in the hinterlands...At least Ohio is the place they try all new products out...they test everything in the Col. market but it is a while before it all filters down to Athens. We only got those pepper grinder things here last year and I bought them in Italy back in 1983!!

I am glad Skittles had a great time and that you have the wonderful babysitter. How great is that?

So looking forward to seeing you!


Tina in CT said...

Is Valentina a relative back in Ohio that you stay with during the summer?

Great idea for the sugar bag.

I don't use the fabric grocery bags as I like the paper with plastic to use for my small garbage can in the kitchen under the sink. I also ask the store bagger to pack them light.

Sounds like a good weekend.

I used to like working at the school fairs but then they weren't in the rain.

The Expatresse said...

She was a colleague in grad school who I met in 1982. . .

The Flip Side. . .Or Maybe Not said...

The Stockman bags make excellent trashbags. Good size and sturdy.

valentina said...

Well I hope I am more than just an old colleague!

BTW, what will the kids do with Badminton sets in Russia?

Looking forward to seeing you!

Travel safely and all me when things calm down.


Anonymous said...

That is too funny!
I have plenty of what is called now the re-usable bags. Years ago they were called avoska or setka in Russian. I have them from all over the word. I even bring the plastic ones like you show on one of your pictures from my trips. We use them sometimes when we go to pick-up wild mushrooms. I use my avoska when I go to the farm market, but in my weekly grocery shopping, I ask one week for plastic and another for paper. I use plastic for small garbage bag and some none-food items and I use brown paper bags for sorting none-recyclable magazines and junk mail. I find them very convenient and economical to use.
And on the top of it, I also save very thin plastic bags American supermarkets have for you to put fruits and vegetables in. They are so thin and endlessly useful, and you can not buy such light bags anywhere.
To each its own.

The Expatresse said...

"Colleague" is the short answer. "Not family." But practically.

Badminton sets are coming to Ohio. Because it is just too much fun now to play badminton in the living room.

valentina said...

Well it sounds like a badminton set might be a perfect B day pres for the Bday twin this year since you have 2 now and they also have a backyard!

I have one here that perhaps the girls will put up if they should be suffering withdrawal when they come to visit!

I used to actually like it as a kid. There was something satisfying about the sound of the birdie on the racket strings! Like a plunk but slightly higer pitched. And of course it did not take a lot of phyiscal exertion which I have always found to be a plus and make for more fun...

See you soon almost family! xov

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