Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hot Tub

"I fell into a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down and the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire
The ring of fire" - Johnny Cash

We went to the beach today to go swimming with some friends. Work is finished for the summer... Woot Woot! and we thought it would be great to take the kids and go relax at the beach and cool off in the ocean.

Well.... we left a little after 8:00am to beat the heat. ... and here are the stats:

  • air temp = 43-44 degrees
  • water temp = 33-35 degrees
  • humidity = lots of sweat

In American terms:

  • air temp = 110-112 degrees
  • water temp = 91-95 degrees
  • humidity = sweating like dogs

You can imagine how refreshing the water was... it wasn't. But somehow we still had fun.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Yvonne has her cast off now (YIPEE!), but still can't really put any weight on that foot (booo hisss) and hence can't walk. So, I got to give her a piggy back ride for about 200 yards across the sand that might have actually been hot coals.

But somehow, we still had fun :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Grim Doctor

"Oh, Doctor, doctor, can't you see I'm burning, burning" - Thompson Twins

The last few days the kids have not been feeling well.  Fevers, sore throats, runny noses, coughs, tugging at ears, and all-around grumpiness.  They didn't seem to be getting better, so we finally decided to take them all in the the Dr's office to get a diagnosis.  Now, this may seem like no big deal, but let me remind you...

  • 3 kids 3 years old and under
  • All are sick and grumpy
  • Foreign country
  • Yvonne is in a cast and on crutches
  • 106+ degrees of sweltering heat outside
Fortunately, there are some benefits to the healthcare in the UAE.  Most helpful in this case was that the hours for the Dr's Office and medical clinics in general here are WAY more convenient.  Yvonne called mid-day on Thursday, and we were scheduled for an appointment that evening at 6:00.  This is not an emergency room visit, or and extra urgent care visit by the Dr.  It was just a regular appointment at 6:00pm.  Convenient. 

So we tried to prep the kids... but they were all a little scared.  I wasn't sure why because they really haven't had a lot of "doctor" experiences and even those haven't really been anything major.  But, things got started off with some resistance.  

Things went pretty well at first, the waiting room was clean, practically empty, and had some toys to keep the kids occupied.  There were a few challenges with the nurse and the initial weigh in/vitals/height check... but most of that was doing in-the-head math when you get measurements like "Her height is 89 centimeters" or "her weight is 11.1 kilograms"

After another short wait, we went into the Dr's office.  She was a friendly local lady with a box of toys.  Talon immediately smiled and went to the toy box and started playing as we discussed the symptoms.  I thought to myself... "so far, so good.  the toys are going to help".  Well, lets just say that toys can only help so much.  We left her office 10 minutes later with kids with tear-stained cheeks, and embarrassed looks hoping that not too many people had heard all the crying that happened inside.  The kids mostly did alright, but the part where she wanted to put the big stick in their mouth and have them say ahhh just didn't go over well.

In the end, we were piled up with enough drugs to start a side-business,  the kids were finally smiling because they had an advil-sponsored picture of a teddy bear to take home and color.  And, we got to escape the understanding looks of the other parents and go back home where we can pretend that our kids are braver and more well behaved than average (yeah right).

Later that night I was thinking and it dawned on me.... Of course the kids where a little scared.  I'm meeting and talking to a nice, friendly, local Muslim female doctor.  She is dressed in a traditional black abaya and head scarf, but has a smile and seems to know what she is talking about.  On the other hand, what my kids are seeing is probably closer to the following images... Of course they were a little scared ;)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

NOT Keeping up with the Joneses

"Life in the fast lane
Surely make you lose your mind
Life in the fast lane, everything all the time
Life in the fast lane, uh huh" - The Eagles

First of all, I want to say that we are not getting rich over here.  We have a budget, wear clothes some would consider old, and are happy with a sale on groceries where we save a couple bucks.  We live in housing provided by my work.  The neighborhood is relatively nice, but is definitely not considered a upper-class or posh.

That being said, I was driving home the other day and saw a neighbor of ours unloading a new vehicle.  I had to do a double-take and then pull out the camera (see below).  I know, it is not the best photo, but I was trying to be inconspicuous.  Anyway, I realized…. I live in a place where my neighbors own a Ferrari! (and actually this is not the only neighbor who has one)

I then realized that even though there are plenty of fords, chevys, mazdas, hondas, and other “regular people” cars, there were also a lot of these:
165px-Mercedes_logoAudi_logo_svgBMW_Logocorvettes1jaguar logo_2land_rover_logo_largelexus_logo_4167logo_infinityPorsche_logoth_ferrari-logo

So, I went for a drive around the block and snapped some photos.  These are all cars in our neighborhood… most of them worth from $50K to well over $100K.  I’ll repeat what I said before.  We are not making that great of $$$, and there are lots and lots of neighborhoods around that are WAY more upscale than ours.  So, the Jones are either doing a lot better, or (more likely) putting a lot more credit into their vehicles.  Needless to say, we will NOT be trying to keep up with anyone in this country (yeah, like we’ve ever worried about keeping up with anyone before ;).  Compared to the 15 year old Saturn we drove in Hawaii, our almost 10 year old Honda MRV still feels like enough luxury for us.
A quick sample of the cars the neighbors are driving: