I am in jet lag hell.
Thanks to 3 small children.
Am writing to you from the couch in our tv hallway. (Whatever, I don’t know what to call this room, it’s a little rest area en route from the spiral staircase to the children’s wing, where Daddy thoughtfully installed an entertainment center, tv, and some couches, I guess this is how people who live in big houses roll.)
It’s my 4th night of no sleep.
Ok, that is a SLIGHT exaggeration—for the past 4 nights, I have slept an average of 1.5 hours during the night, and then another couple of hours during the daytime. But let me tell you, there are few miseries in the world quite like the one I just experienced when, after spending almost 4 hours with jetlagged Baby (10pm-2am), I finally get her to sleep and put my weary head on the pillow only to hear Sushi calling me at 2:15am and then Screamer calling me at 3am. So now it’s 5:20 am and both older girls are watching movies in their beds on portable DVD players and I have just about given up any hope of going to bed at all tonight (they are constantly needing me to come in and adjust the volume, bring them a banana, etc., etc., etc.). Which wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that I MIGHT BE LOSING MY EVERLOVING MIND.
(Note: Usually, Daddy would be helping me with the kids, and lord knows he has made himself available to be woken up, but he had to go straight back to the office as soon as we arrived in the UAE and has had important meetings scheduled all week and I just can’t bring myself to deprive him of rest. After all, if Daddy stops bringing home the bacon, then we are out on the streets, and since I’m pretty sure it is illegal to be homeless in Dubai, I’d like to avoid that situation if at all possible.)
So what’s it like to be back, you’re wondering, after we spent about 6 weeks in the USA? Well, here are my initial thoughts:
THE BAD NEWS.
(1) Boy, the construction hasn’t improved at all. In fact, in many places it looks like it’s gotten worse. The roads are as much a mess as ever, which is really depressing. Everywhere you look is an eyesore. In fact, it’s more unusual to see a completed road/building/intersection than one that is incomplete. Chaos! And not the kind of anti-establishment chaos that makes me happy!
(2) It is indeed hot, and this is even AFTER the worst, I think, has already passed. It’s the kind of hot where you walk outside after spending 24 hours in the air conditioning and your skin is still temporarily holding onto that coolness and you think, “Hey, this isn’t so bad out here, what’s with all the drama” and then about 2 seconds later that coolness starts to evaporate off your skin and you think, “URGENT: NEED AC” and you zoom back into the house faster than you can express your silent gratitude to the heavens that you are not currently employed as one of Dubai’s kajillion construction workers, landscapers, or residential gate attendants. Whatever those guys are being paid, it should be tripled.
(3) I miss my friends and family!! And so does Sushi. Which makes me sad for her. (Screamer is only 2 and has a limited understanding of time and space so she thinks that all her friends in the world are living down the street, hence her absence of sentimentality at our return.)
(4) I have been instantly reminded of how IMPOSSIBLE it is to get around Dubai. Not only do I know how to get to a vast three (3) destinations in the entire Dubai universe (mall + mall + school), but the CRAPTASTIC orange-cone-overrun roads are often not even MARKED, which precludes any possibility of my ever venturing out beyond my self-imposed electric fence. (One literally memorizes landmarks to find one’s way around; witnessing an actual street sign with words on it as opposed to numbers is a conversation topic suitable for the dinner table.) Not to mention that the roads keep CHANGING: today, for example, the road that I USED to take to get to the mall was suddenly a dead end! I heart street barricades! One thing that surprised me about my time in the States is that I had forgotten how much I LOVE driving… alone… and over the speed limit… on familiar highways… with my Sirius cranked way up… (Note: Yes, I know I can technically get satellite radio here, via the internet… but let me tell you, sitting at the dining room table staring at the ceiling and listening to Howard Stern over my laptop while hoping like heck that the maid doesn’t walk in and hear the word PENIS is not exactly my idea of relaxation.)
THE GOOD NEWS.
(1) Wow, it’s nice to have Alice around again!! At first I thought Baby was going to need a few days to get used to her, but thankfully those two were back to being thick as thieves within an hour. Yay for a person to dump a fussy baby on!
(2) I’m not QUITE as annoyed by Julia as I expected to be upon seeing her. Does that sound mean or WHAT. But truthfully, over the summer I’d decided that she was causing more trouble than she was worth—she’s much more emotionally needy than Alice, and before we left I had found myself wasting a lot of energy navigating her mood swings— and yet she was so overtly thrilled to see our car pulling into the driveway when we were coming home from the airport that I have decided to give her another chance. Maybe we can find a way to coexist so that she is NOT incessantly following me around the house theoretically helping me but in reality causing me to break out in itchy hives.
(3) It’s nice to be back in our borrowed mansion and living under the same roof as PopPop. And hey, Harry didn’t succumb to loneliness during our holiday! Hello, furry friend, I’m so happy to see you still alive! And glad to hear that your bulimia hasn’t improved one bit! No, don’t bother puking on the tile floor—go ahead and help yourself to the fancy rugs! Knock yourself out! We're renting!
(4) Can't wait for Sushi to start at the American Academy, and for Baby to start at the nursery school, and for Screamer to move into Sushi's old classroom.
(5) Am very much looking forward to seeing The Australian, Friend Who Makes Pillows Out of Placemats (memo to self: she needs a better blog name), Bonnie and Clyde...
Ugh, I can’t think of anything else because I’ve unwittingly moved into heavy planning mode for the pity party I’m about to throw for myself. Coming up on 6 am now and the sky is just starting to lighten and my eyes are painfully dry and—OH WAIT, Baby is suddenly SCREAMING and Screamer is simultaneously demanding a new DVD…. GOTTA GO….
p.s. The month of Ramadan is about to start. I’m sure there will be much to report. Stay tuned, miss you… xo.