December 28 2003

I could be more politically correct, but tough.  We are having an 'I Hate Kazakhstan Day'.

Here are the top ten reasons not to live in Kazakhstan:

10) The furniture.  I have yet to meet a comfortable couch in Kazakhstan. The beds are hard as bricks. The fronts of drawers seem to fall off at will.

9) Linoleum.  I will never have linoleum in any house I ever live in again.  They do not glue down the linoleum either. The seams just curl up. Where is the duct tape when you need it?

8) They have no real concept of chocolate or desserts. Milk chocolate must be a U.S. thing. Everything seems to be dark or white chocolate and has so much air in it, it's light as a feather.

7) No thermostats.  If you're hot, open a window, in December?

6) There is no light in the refrigerator and the light in the microwave doesn't come on until you start the microwave.  (This kills the whole built in night light thing we are accustomed to in the kitchen.)

5) There are no shades or blinds in Kazakhstan.  It's pretty damn bright at night.

4) Laundry Sucks.  The washer is intensely small and runs forever.  It takes 90minutes to do one load which is a quarter the size of a U.S. load.  And, to get all the soap out you've got to wash everything twice. (Of course the water is dirty, so nothing is ever really clean.)  And there are no dryers.

3) The toilets. Enough said, you already know the story.

2) They say their food is close to nature.  We say their nature is too close to their food. The reason the birds wouldn't come eat my bread crumbs is they're feasting on the garbage available on every street corner and everywhere in between.  (We also found some nasty bugs in our apartment today.) Not to mention, they eat horse as routine and most of the food is too scary to eat.

And the Number 1 Reason Not To Live in Kazakshtan: The water from the tap smells so bad you gag when you brush your teeth and want to bathe when you are done showering because you still feel dirty. I hate to drink out of the glasses I washed because the water skeeves me. We wondered if washing your hands with anti-bacterial soap means anything when using this tap water.

OK - At least David Letterman only counts to ten.  I bet I could think of another ten without too much of a hassle. I think the little bugs sent me over the edge this morning. That, and I've had a cough for a while and it's taking its toll on my muscles. 

Enough complaining.  You want to hear about our kids?  If I did a top ten list of the reasons I like Kazakhstan, one through ten would all be 'Kazakhstan is the birth place of Katherine and Anthony'.

Anthony was up twice last night.  I got him the first time.  Before I gave him his bottle, nature called. There's no where to put Anthony, so I had to bring him in and hold him while I did my business. As I reached for the toilet paper, the metal toilet paper holder fell completely off the wall and made a nice clattery sound against the tile wall and floor.  Another item that contributed to my "I want to go home attitude" A bottle and back to bed was all Anthony needed.  Daddy got him the second time.  Daddy did not give him a bottle, but just tried to get him back down.  It's tough to comfort a child that is not used to being comforted.  I said to Bill yesterday that after a bottle, you are used to having a baby bury their head on your shoulder.  Anthony is not there yet. He likes to be held, but can't relax enough to put his head down.  It'll take some time, but the day that boy rests his head on my shoulder, I think I will cry.  Anyway, while Bill was trying to comfort his son, nature called.  Hey, it's the middle of the night, you gotta go right?  Well there's no where to put Anthony, you've got to hold him. The seat on the toilet would not stay up.  Bill has been having this issue since we got to this apartment.  He puts the seat up, it falls down in the middle of doing his business. If you've got two free hands, I guess it's manageable. If you've got a baby in your arms and you've got to pee, I guess it's pretty damn frustrating.  When I got up this morning, the toilet seat was no longer attached to the toilet.  I knew Bill had an 'I hate Kazakhstan' moment.  We've been laughing about it all day.

Katherine must have been up first this morning.  I heard Anthony stirring (his crib is right next to my head).  I got up when he started getting really scoochy, and low and behold, there was Katherine standing at the door trying to get into the living room.  It made me sad that she did not know that most little girls would climb into bed with Mommy and Daddy or at least come over and breathe in my face until I woke up.  I am sure this will come with time too.  So, the three of us got up and left Daddy sleep a little while longer.  We had a fine breakfast.  Oatmeal for Katherine, baby cereal for Anthony, some banana too. We all shared that. I had some cheerios later and Katherine and Anthony both enjoyed sharing Mommy's breakfast.

OH! Kids are up from their nap.  Time for a walk outdoors.  Later!

We had a lovely afternoon.  Had some juice and milk after naptime Then we bundled everybody up and took a walk to the local market. It's very close to our apartment. This was the first time we were bringing out the sled.  Katherine was excited.  Big smile on her face when we first started. We didn't know what to do with the sled if both of us went into the store.  Can you park it outside the store?  Seems like everyone is cautious of crime, although we haven't seen any.  So Bill went in the store and Katherine, Anthony and I walked down the island in the center of the street.  It's very wide and covered in ice and pretty smooth ice at that.  Perfect for pulling a sled.  The only tough thing is the sled is not a two seater, So I had to carry Anthony and pull Katherine.  This is what Mommy's are built for.  We took a walk to the end of the island where there were some New Year's trees for sale. New Years trees are the same as Christmas trees, although I don't see any 6 foot Blue Spruce around here. We walked back to where Daddy would come out of the store and only had to wait a minute or two.  You'll see pictures below of where we sat outside.  We walked back toward the apartment and while Daddy and Anthony went back inside, Katherine and I made a detour to the playground.  There were two boys and one girl playing there.  The boys left fairly quickly, but the girl stayed.  I think she would have liked to play with Katherine, but did not know how to get past the communication thing. She was much older, probably Ryan's age. We slid down the slide. THAT was FUN!  It was an old style metal slide.  Short enough that I could lift her, but long enough for a good slide.  I don't ever remember sliding in the winter, but with a snow suit on you can really get some speed. I don't think we've ever written about the snow/ice slides they build for the kids to play on.  That is something we'll have to get a picture of.  They are these really tall triangles of ice.  The kids climb to the top and go down in every way imaginable. On their feet, bums, belly's, with a slide implement or just their bodies.  They have two of these ice slides on the school grounds right near our apartment.  It's really neat. The kids are out their during recess with the teacher supervising.  That's something they'd never let happen in NJ. Too likely a lawsuit.   Back to our playground.  We did the merry go round a bit, and climbed on some tires. I later regretted the tire climbing because I saw a dog peeing on one.  Too late. Mostly the slide was the thing.  Katherine was done pretty soon and we came back in.

We had a little snack of crackers, cheerios and animal crackers.  Dinner followed in a bit.  Another fine feast of roasted chicken.  The veggies this time were peas and carrots.  Katherine really liked the carrots. I'm so happy!  Bill really liked the peas.  It was the only thing he ate.

The kids were playing on the floor in the living room.  We were cleaning up dinner.  Anthony really wants to be into whatever Katherine is into.  It makes her crazy!  He was up her but. She really didn't know it, she turned around and started walking and there he was.  He took a nose dive to the floor.  Got himself a bloody nose. Not really bad or anything but OUCH!.

Anthony is quite the little dancer.  Turn on some music or start singing some songs and that boy starts dancing and grooving.  It is Sooo cute!  Katherine, not a dancer. That's OK. She'll learn.

Anthony is also making a million sounds. He's so funny.  I think I wrote about that yesterday, but I can't help saying it again.  Tonight he was rolling in the back of his throat.  Got some spit back there and just kept going Grrrrrrrrrrr.  Must be the German in him. He just starts unprovoked and keeps on going.  He's a great little boy. 

Katherine had a melt down when it was nap time today. I decided to try reading to her before putting her to sleep.  I have this fancy 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' pop up book I was saving.  In all my fantasizing before I got here I thought I could read it to the children on Christmas when they were here in the apartment.  Always a difference between reality and dreams. We've had to work with Katherine to get her to sit still long enough to read a book.  Even to let us turn the book upside right was an issue.  There was no way she was ready for a pop up book on Christmas.  (Wow that was only 3 days ago).  Anyway, it's bed time. We'd been snuggling on the couch so she's pretty mellow.  We go pee. Say Good night to Daddy. We go to her room.  She starts wimperine. I pull out the book and she's immediately interested. We sit on the bed and I open the first page. A Huge White clock pops up and she's just fascinated. There were two pages that had huge Santa's and she actually went OH!  There was one where the reindeer pop out so far they almost touch your nose. She totally loved it.  There were still a few wimpers when it was time for sleep, but nothing compared to the nap time melt down.

Well - my boy Ryan is going to Tennessee today to spend some time with my sister and his cousins, Katie and Adam.  I hear Adam got a BB gun for Christmas and I'm sure they will have lots of fun shooting at haystacks. I'm going to wrap up here so I can call before he leaves and before I go to sleep. 

Hope you all had a great day!

God Bless!

© Bill Delmedico 2013