Monday, September 7, 2009

Myself! Myself!

Somewhere along the way, in the past, oh, 48 years or so, I heard someone tell the story of their toddler, who, when especially pleased with something she'd done, used to wrap her arms around herself and say, "Oh! Myself! Myself!"

I don't remember who told me this story. And it's possible the child did this when she was in need of reassurance and not when she was contented. If you are the source and I screwed it all up, please, don't tell me. Because it will ruin the delicate plot thread that holds this blog entry together. These things are tenuous at best.

Because, speaking of self-love, I broke the hand-held shower.

Beet Reader 1: Did she just say what I thought she said?
Beet Reader 2: Woody Allen does call it "sex with the one you love best."
Beet Reader 1: A lot of people think Woody Allen is a perv these days.

Well, actually, the hose exploded off the wall while I was setting the water temperature to take a shower last night.

So that's one of those annoying things that plague me. Another thing that needs to be fixed. But The Spouse says there's nothing wrong with the shower that a quick trip to the hardware store won't fix.

I guess that means he's planning to fix it. He's done this before. But I'm not sure when he's going to find time to pop into the hardware store before the weekend.

So I gave the kids a plastic bowl and said "Rinse your shampoo off with this." because I'm a Lean, Mean Parenting Machine.

Okay, maybe not so lean. But I did go to the gym today. The kids may have to use a plastic bowl, but I can take showers at the gym.

I went to the gym, I did. For the first time since I left Moscow to go to the Summer Dacha. I swam my kilometer (Myself! Myself!). And scrubbed off two months worth of dead skin cells in the sauna.

Yeah, it was gross. But my skin feels so nice now.

On the way home I stopped at the bank and paid the telephone bill.

Because we lost a bill right about the time I left Moscow to go to the Summer Dacha. Making us derelicts in the eyes of RosTelecom.

We owe them 300 rubles (about $10US).

But without that little piece of paper that comes in the mail, I can't pay the bill. And then next month, they will send you a NEW bill. But it doesn't have any information about the previous month.

You have to wait for them to send you a copy of the original bill. In the mail.

In the meantime, they call you regularly to remind you that you are a deadbeat.

It's a recording. But you cannot hangup without listening to the entire message. Or they call you back. Forcing you to listen to the entire message.

As soon as I hear a Russian man's recorded voice on the other end, I know who is calling and what they are want. I don't need to hear the entire message. I can't understand the details of it anyhow. What I need is for RosTelecom to send me another one of those damn pieces of paper.

They eventually did that, and I paid it today. But I didn't understand the nice lady behind the glass at the bank who asked me for 50 mmmmhhuumms, which I interpreted as "50 rubles." I didn't have 50 rubles, and I said so. I only had bigger bills. I hadn't done the math at home, so I didn't know exactly how much money she would want. Something in the neighborhood of 300 rubles was all I knew.

So then she asked me for one ruble. Which I gave her.


She wanted 50 kopecks.

I have a purse full of kopecks. There were probably 5,802 kopeck coins in various denominations lying on the floor of the bank. They are worth so little, honestly, people do not even stop to pick them up.

Aside: As I need to pay for some things related to school in euros, I was wondering what is the plural of euro in Russian? Because the official and correct use is always singular even though it sounds a bit odd to my ear. And so I learned that there's no plural for euro in Russian either. And now you know, too.

But I digress.

I left the bank feeling like an idiot.

Okay, Teller Lady probably won't remember me. But I still felt like an idiot.

Fast forward to later this afternoon, when I stopped on the way home from school to buy Baboo a sloika (think "danish"). The price was 32 rubles. I was sure I handed Sloika Lady 52 rubles. But she gave me back a whole bunch of change. I was about to insist she take it back, but the kids said I handed her 502 rubles.

"Well, that doesn't make any sense," I told them.

Am I, in this blog, documenting my slow decline into dementia?

I may have oatmeal for brains, but I do make an excellent pesto.

Seriously. It's good. But it really does need the lemon juice.

And I produced another in a series of kick-ass roasted chickens today.

Does anything smell better than a roasting chicken?

I have taken to spatchcocking my chickens.

Beet Reader 1: What did she just say?
Beet Reader 2: Perv!

I saw someone on a cooking show (probably the same person who told the story about the toddler) cut the backbone out of a chicken before grilling it on a barbecue. And I thought it might make for a nice roasted chicken.

I slice a few onions, cut up a lemon, and pull off some cloves of garlic to put in the pan under the flattened chicken. It smells just heavenly when it's roasting, and makes for a rather tasty chicken, too.

On a completely different topic, I am loving the Kindle. My big fear is dropping it. Or the cats knocking it on the floor. Because I get the impression that they can suffer irreparable damage if they get dropped.

I'm reading a fun spy novel on the Kindle right now. It's got espionage and Russian oligarchs and MI5, and I know where all the scenes that take place in Moscow are. I need to go finish reading it because the villain has our hero, the hero's wife, and the title character at his dacha where he plans to dispatch them.

Further, I am happy to report that I purchased another book by the same author, downloaded it to my computer, and copied it successfully onto the Kindle. So, fellow expats, one can use these things outside the US.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go see if Daniel manages to off Ivan before Ivan offs him.


MoscowMom said...

Oh, I had SOOOO much fun reading the latest two Silva books this summer! Glad you're enjoying them, too!!!

Chris and Katya LOVE our Kindle... I have yet to use it myself. I'm still wading through the books on English writing theory for 1-6th grade that we're adopting into the school's curriculum as soon as I'm able to instruct other teachers...

You really crack me up. So glad you blog!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love The Defector. I read it this summer and I enjoyed it immensely. Have you read the prior one called Moscow Rules? If you haven't, you should, because it's quite exciting as well.

Tina in CT said...

Tamara left a few of his books set in Moscow for me to read. I love spy novels.

I'm off to my deck to read MARTHA's magazine with the puppy.

valentina said...

Quite amusing and full of non-sequiters which I always enjoy as I do footnotes which I know is just sick but humor me...

Spatchcocking is indeed fun and not to be confused with "dispatching" although they are oddly similar in a way...

Glad the kindle is working. Should be life altering I suspect, especially for those long waits for Baboo after school...

The phone system and the ad infinitum messages sound dreadful but it could be worse...uh how? Well you could be in Beirut where there is only electricity 4 hours every day!! (Yeah, or in Afghanistan, I know suffering is all relative...)

Anyhow school starts for me on Weds although the U starts up officially tomorrow and I know as soon as I cross the threshold of my classrooms I will be ready and happy to be there and right back into the swing of it but until then I am resisting every last second. I am teaching 2 classes of Greco Roman great books. one on the lower level and a hybrid combined lower and upper level class as the upper level section didn't make enrollment and so they were combined which will be VERY weird. Can you imagine 1st quarter freshman combined with Seniors??? Anyhow I am glad not to be saddled with a 2nd class of jr/sr comp as I also have one of those, Women and Writing, but 2 are just too, too many papers to grade... Quelle horreur! School hasn't even started and I haven't even read my last Sunday NYTimes as I have had so many zillions of emails to answer from students trying to pink slip in...What a nuisance that is...
Forgive my whining...

Anyhow this blog was especially funny and I am glad you have dived back into it with full force! xov

The Expatresse said...

Oh, yes! I started with Moscow Rules. Last night I bought and downloaded The Confessor and Death in Vienna. Did you know he's married to NBC News correspondent Jamie Gangel?

Aunt Becky said...

You crack me up! Seriously.

hka said...

useful info on the plural of euro... I didn't know....

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

oooohhhh, that's why there are little coins all over the streets of moscow.

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