Last week, I started crocheting a pair of legwarmers for Sprout. She can wear them out when it turns cooler here, but I'm mostly making them for her ballet class. With days in the mid-20s (70F) and nights dipping down to 20 (68F) or so, I'm able to handle yarn again without having it clinging to me.
One more week and we can starting moving. But we'll have to deal with some WH--!? business first. The electric bill collector showed up tonight and handed me a bill for 1007 LE. Our normal monthly bill runs 110-140 LE. They are trying to tell me that without using the A/C or anything like that, we have to pay 10 times more than normal? My neighbor, who was paying at the same time, said that his bill looked perfectly normal. The collector lied to neighbor and said that he hadn't checked our meter in a long time and now we had to pay our "true" consumption rate rather than an assumed total. He checks the meter every couple of months; and now, after we've been here for 3 years, he's going to tell us all the sudden we've changed our habits and need to make good. Funnily enough (/sarcasm), two people told me that our landlady probably called the electric company and told them we are about to move so to make sure we're all paid up (because otherwise it will fall on her to pay. As if we would have left the bill hanging. ARGH. I know other people do it, though; we were presented with the bill from the last tenant). But how did they get from 100 to 1000? We have to get to the bottom of it. :-< I don't want to pay something we truly don't owe, but I don't want to leave someone else holding the bag, either.
And this shall be a lesson to us: Never trust the meter man again. Always write down the meter number ourselves and verify what he writes down.
I had to renew my passport and after toting a God-awful passport photo for the past ten years, I was determined to have a better one this time around. So, J and I spent HOURS on it. No, not trying to make me look better or Photoshop me...just to do the shot, select one, make website formatting tools play nice, and get our printer to work. After wasting sheets of photo paper and buckets of ink, I showed up to my appt with several options, size-wise. Only to be told that they would not accept my background, which was white with a faint bluish cast, even though the "rules" state that off-white is fine. Argh. So I had to go across the street and have another taken, in which I look just as tired as the whole process makes me feel and all washed out to boot, thanks to wearing a white blouse.
I was asked to bring along "proof" of my citizenship, just in case. And spent more HOURS looking for said proof yesterday, only not to be asked for anything at all. ( I had sorted all these papers into a special pile, and then, in the move-house frenzy, packed them, instead of refiling them.)
Thank goodness I only have to do this every ten years.
And the lesson of the day: Stick to my guns and only take a taxi with a meter. On the way to the consulate, I ended up accepting a ride with no meter, agreeing to pay 40 LE because J told me that was a good rate. On the way back, we held out for a meter and only paid 20. o.O
Second lesson: If there are no signs saying which line you should be in, ask. Even if there is only one line. I stood in the "wrong" line for 30 minutes. I actually had a feeling it was the wrong line but did not make a move earlier because I was waiting on J and didn't want to go inside without him since a) I had his passport, b) phones have to be off once inside. When the time for my appt arrived, however, and I was only five steps closer (out of about 30 more) to the door, I did jump the line and got to go directly inside. I did not appreciate the slight smirk of the man at the barrier which seemed to say that he knew I was in the wrong place and could have done something about it.
I did get to see something unusual on the taxi ride this morning: A motorcycle passenger sitting sidesaddle, his ankle swathed in bandages, carrying his own foldable wheelchair.
But I felt like I needed to report in about creativity, even if I have a lack of creation to share.
That is not to say that I've done nothing--I've sketched some--but I have spent more time thinking and being and accepting. A while back, I posted about my frustration with how stories come to me, wishing I could change the way my brain works. Thanks to everyone who commented on that entry. I fell down a rabbithole and didn't follow up with people. I regret that. It seems silly to go back to it now, but I appreciate that people chimed in.
Anyhow, I haven't had new revelations, per se, but I've decided I need to be more flexible. I need to accept that sometimes the plan must be ditched; I have to roll with what I'm capable of when a hole swallows me whole or Some Big Thing knocks me off track. I may not have the brain cells to write at certain times, but I can draw. So instead of clinging to some idea that I must write Just Because, I need to quickly (gracefully) switch gears. It will save me time, guilt, and needless waffly-wallowing.
We are looking at a move, which means lots of packing, running around, planning and executing plans, in addition to vet visits, renewing my passport, attending a plethora of social engagements, and baking for charities. This is not the time to come down hard on myself for not being able to produce some tangible evidence of my creative spirit.
And this is enough of that. G'night, LJ. :P
We can begin moving Nov 15 and will keep our current flat until Dec 1, so we'll be able to take our time with it.
The future flat is much smaller and a bit rundown, but! it has a garden! WOOT! I predict a much healthier, happier time here now that I'll be able to go barefoot on the grass every day.:D
And all for 100 LE cheaper than we are paying now.
From the smell of things, it would seem everyone in the building has fried food on the menu for today.
I feel like my home has been beamed into the middle of the greasiest of greasy spoons.
FWIW, in general, the smell of fried food is not really that bad, but when the smell is so tenacious and nauseatingly profuse...yeah.
I'm coming down with some crud passed along from J, but unfortunately (?), blocked sinuses is not one of the symptoms.
Can you guess which one?
I made a Thai-influenced soup for lunch:
Junebug took his spoon, dug in, and proclaimed, "Tasty!"*
Sprout looks in her bowl and without tasting it, wails, "I like shrimp, I like calamari, I like chicken; what a bad surprise this is, having them all together! And rice! I didn't want my rice mixed in!"
* Yes, I made the soup, so I might be biased, but it was very tasty.
The ten actual words I did manage are contained herein:
She held out her hand and opened it. An egg-shaped stone lay upon her palm, watery blue with a faceted red sphere near its larger end. A glimmer. All the girls shifted forward for a better view. They knew what mineralized sresree eggs were supposed to look like, but Lelo supposed none of them had never seen a real one either.
Um, yay me?
Sadly I do not foresee more productivity in my near future.
J was out visiting apartments, and a couple came up to him on the street and asked about his criteria and budget. He told them and the lady said she had a place that was for rent. She gave him the address and said he could visit the next day, but that evening she called back and said he could come over immediately.
When he got there, he couldn't find the lady and she wasn't answering her phone. The doorman sent him to the wrong floor, and once back downstairs, he saw a lady and her two teenagers standing in the entryway, their belongings bundled up around them in sheets.
Turns out they were vacating the apartment he was supposed to be visiting. J was very uncomfortable, but the people told him the landlady was inside and he should go in and visit, that it was a nice place. The kids, who spoke good English, told J, "She used to be my mom's friend, but then she turned crazy." Uh-oh.
J didn't visit, and she called him the next day, acted like nothing had happened, and invited him back over again. He decided to see the place just in case it was really nice. He liked the amount of space and had me excited about it.
Until I went to see it. o.O
It was rundown in the extreme and downright scary in some aspects. And the lady wanted way too much money. Every time I would mention something that needed fixing, she would get a look on her face that said I was being ovely difficult and she would nod as if to humor me, her narrowed eyes and pinched lips telling me I was dreaming if I thought she'd do anything.
I told her I was confused as to why she even told us about the place when she knew it was over our budget. "Because it isn't that much over. You can make an effort." Or, um, she could make an effort.
"No, we really can't," I informed her, especially after she said that, OK, OK, she would fix some small things in the apartment, but that we "would have to help her."
Then she proceeded to tell me that I should get a job so we'd be able to afford it. I politely told her that wasn't in our plans. And she kept on. And on. "You can open a daycare here! It pays good money!" Um, no thanks. "Go substitute teach! It pays really well!" No. Thank. You. "You can do many things to supplement your income!" Grrrr.
And poor Sprout kept saying, "Momma, can we go now?"
Once the lady realized we weren't going to budge on our budget, she told me she would look for us a place. In New Maadi. "We don't want to live there," I told her. "Yes, but they have a lot of flats there in your price. I'll look there." No thank you. And she said it again and again until I cut her off with, "My husband doesn't want to live there."
We are leaving a landlady who is very decent on the whole; Lord save us from going into a situation with a known "troubled" person. O.O