Sunday, September 20, 2009


I girded my loins, took a deep breath . . .

and ventured into the girls' room yesterday.

It is just a disaster, largely because they HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF. And few places to store it.

I know for a fact that Skittles, when asked to put away clean laundry, just stuffs it into the little cabinet she uses as an armoire (it is, in fact, an old TV cabinet from Home Depot or IKEA or something). I remind her regularly, "You DON'T want me to look in there," because that results in lots of cursing and tears. Largely mine.

But yesterday I knew I could not delay any longer.

Not only because they deserve a cleaner, more organized place for their clothes. And not just because they have absolutely no idea what they own. But because I saw a notice for a clothing drive.

And the deadline is the end of September.

I received this:

My company, Contrast Cleaners, is running through to the 30th September its annual charity event "Coats for Kids" where we collect and distribute clothes and shoes to orphanages in the Moscow region.

In the past 2 years we have collected on average around 1500 items per year and are looking for your generosity to improve on that this year, an especially difficult one for charities. So have a rummage in your wardrobes and chests of drawers for any unwanted clothes, in the age range from 1 to 18 years, and in reasonable condition.

You can donate the clothes or shoes by bringing them to any of our collection points or express dry cleaners where we will clean the clothes and carry out minor repairs at our cost before arranging the distribution to children charities.

You can view a list of our locations on our web site, where you will also find more detail and links to the charities we have supported in the past. Just click on About the Company and then Charities.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Malcolm Hill
Contrast Cleaners

Seems ideal to me. There is one of these dry cleaner shops inside a grocery store down the street. And while in Moscow one can just put unwanted items next to the trash dumpsters and they will quickly find good homes, this seemed a more reliable way of getting decent used clothes and shoes directly to a good cause with very little effort on my part.

So I culled.

Five bags of kid clothes and one bag of shoes. And this is without even opening the BIG armoire in the girls' room. I'll just have to get to that next weekend.

The girls hate this process because I make them try things on, and it is so time consuming. I only spent two hours (one per kid) here.

The Spouse offered to help me carry them over to the shop later today. Malcolm Hill asked me to kindly spread the word, so consider yourself informed.

The carrot I dangled in front of the girls as a reward was Lunch Out. I had hoped to get one final day outside at Scandinavia's Summer Terrace (much cheaper than inside and a quiet oasis right off Tverskaya). But when we arrived, there was not a stick of furniture outside. Starlite Diner is not a bad second choice, and just up the street. So that was the Booby Prize.

After lunch, Baboo and I went to pick up (still more) newly arrived 6e textbooks. Another $100 worth (I swear I have already spent $200 on her books). And her math workbook and an English textbook have not yet arrived.

The Spouse and Skittles went to have a shoe of his repaired.

Then they stopped for a pastry and a chat.

About how the adults' personal life is none of her damn business, thank you very much.

See Friday night it happened again.

The Scene: Kids asleep in their room which is as geographically far from our room as is possible in our little place. They face the street (as do we) so the constant roar of the traffic covers up, on a normal night, the sounds of the television in the living room (which is between our bedrooms). That never disturbs her.

Our door was closed.

And yet. And yet . . .

The kid is somehow mysteriously tied to my nerve endings. I'm assuming it's mine. I should ask The Spouse to have what we here Chez Beet euphemistically call "A Moment to Himself" and see if the Money Shot wakes her from a sound sleep and causes her to wander the hall between her room and the toilet, weeping and retching.

So back in the bakery, he asked her why she thought it was any of her business. Her eyes welled up, and she started to get all weepy. And he said, "How's that pain au chocolate? Better than the one you had at the other place?"

And suddenly all was fine. They just . . . moved on.

Although now she's probably going to transfer the association to pain au chocolate and have to spend years in expensive regression therapy as an adult trying to figure out why French pastries simultaneously attract and repulse her. Or worse.

If you don't normally read the comments, go to the last entry and read those. The Loyal Beet-niks supplied some hilarious solutions.

I'm just glad I'm not the only one.

And now, for your amusement, some cat pictures:

Crooky has these funny back legs when she lies down.

We call this one "Cat-o-flage."

Tonight I'm going to a little soiree. Or salon. I'm not sure exactly what to call it. The Spouse will babysit.

The program promises a poetry reading and some music and a scene from a Harold Pinter play and "hilarious comic interludes." I have never met any of these people (another in my series of Moscow Virtual Friends), so if I don't make it home by midnight, I was last seen at Pivo Vodi, 26/1 Sretenka ul.

Good or bad, it could be good blog material.


katbat said...

Thanks for the info on the dry cleaner! I have tons of baby clothes and some of my clothes I can donate - and I found a location near me!

Jen said...

Those cats of yours just seem permanently pissed off.
I haven't had cats for a while. I'd forgotten that look.

The Expatresse said...

They are the worst cats ever. Neither one will sit on my lap. Cat-O was raised by dogs, so he thinks he is one. Crooky is still scarred by her time in the Metro. They DO smile, just never on camera.

hka said...

I always wondered how others manage.... I have friends who had their kids sleep in the same bed with them until they were at least 7, yet managed to reproduce some more! I'm sure it's just a phase she's going through, on the other hand would you be interested in your parents' sex life?

valentina said...

WEll clearly your cats are utterly and totally relaxed in these pix. The one of Crooky is indeed amusing with those little legs sticking out as if she were wearing white tights!

I really think you should put a lock on your door and maybe get one of those white noise machines for the girls' room. Surely they exist somewhere in Moscow and would be worth every exorbitant cent! Or ruble as it were...

Congrats on the culling. This is a huge job. I was trying on clothes from my closet yesterday afternoon and it was exhausting!

But I don't understand why the girls need to be rewarded for doing this? They have lots of cool stuff and should be happy to give it to kids who don't. You know, goodness for goodness sake. Being charitable is its own reward...isn't it?

But it is good that Da and Skittles had their little chat. I don't think there's much chance she is going to give up her well entrenched pain au chocolat habit or need therapy! At least not for that!

But she still can turn on the crocodile tears if she gets scolded or anyone raises their voice to her... which is of course attention grabbing and utterly manipulative...As for the retching, that is really over the top. Little Sarah Heartburn...sweet thing that she is...Maybe you should ignore her completely when she does this and she will discover it just doesn't work anymore?

Hope your soiree was delightful and that you made some new friends!

Fall has really arrived in SE Ohio
and the trees are turning. My garden is ebullient with bounding chrysanthemums. Really quite lovely. School is zooming... Stay well and happy! xov

Tina in CT said...

Holy crap! You got walked in on again! They need to understand that they never are to open the door unless there is serious blood dripping from them.

What a wonderful way to donate clothes. Bring them to the dry cleaners who will clean and mend (if needed). I always bring mine to Goodwill when I do a purge.

My daughter purges before coming back in the summer and she donates the clothes to a church that brings them to an orphage.

Your cat sure does blend in with your rug. Hope he she moves quickly when someone is approaching the rug.

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

Oh I don't want to laugh but...darn! I just can't help it.

The Expatresse said...

She doesn't open the door and walk in on us. She leaves her bed/bedroom and wanders that end of the apartment. She has also long been a sleep walker, too, so she is in this weird zoned out state.

But I'll tell you a secret . . . we managed to be undisturbed last night! Shhhhhh!

Jen said...

Fair enough re the cats. It's so rare to see a cat with a REASON to be pissed off. Usually, they just are.

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