Monday, November 8, 2010

The Oddness of My Normal Life

Just an ordinary Monday.

Kids up, breakfast made, Gil's lunch assembled, Bible time with the kids.  Walked to school to pick up the car, told Grace, "Be ready for school by the time I get back!"  Out the door at 9 am. 

Drove the mile to Grace's school, she got out, came to my window, and promptly burst into inconsolable tears.  Taken aback at the behavior of my normally sunny, outgoing, I-love-school daughter, I asked, "What's wrong?"

"I don't want to go to school!!!!"

Why not?

"I want to go home!!!!"

Firm Mommy.  Pried her fingers off the car, deposited her in the arms of one her teachers, and drove off with the vision of my daughter's screeching face, outstretched arms in my rear-view mirror.

Horrible Mommy.  And my mind races.  Why didn't she want to go to school?  Are they mistreating her?  Did something terrible happen that she didn't tell me?  Mega guilt.

Next stop:  gas station.  Only and always full service in this country.  I asked for 40,000 shillings.  "Oops," the attendant says to me, "I accidentally put in 46,000."  Well.  Good thing I had the cash, since that's the only method of payment. 

Drove for five minutes and realized the gas gauge was barely budging over a quarter of a tank.  For $30 worth of gas.  Irritated.

Stopped by the appliance store.  Since the weather has heated up, our fridge no longer can keep up and everything is spoiling, and no one has been able to fix it.  So we need a new refrigerator.  "We no longer sell refrigerators," the clerk tells me.  "Now we only have air conditioners."  I day dream for a minute about that air conditioner that is the size of a walk-in closet.  Maybe we could just make our whole house the temperature of a refrigerator.  Would that work?

Got to the grocery store.  I have recently fallen in love with weekly meal planning; it makes life so much less stressful.  That is, except when I can never find the things on my list.  Lasagna on the list for tonight; it's Bible study night and I need something that will feed 8 people and can be adapted for our token vegetarian. 

No lasagna noodles.  I sigh and buy manicotti instead.  No fresh milk.  I debate for a while; do I want to buy boxed milk for the ricotta cheese, even though it's twice the price of fresh milk and probably not even really milk?  (I mean, how can real milk sit on a shelf for months and not go bad?)  I sigh again and dump four boxes in the cart.

On the way home I stop at two other smaller shops.  But apparently all of Dar es Salaam is out of lasagna noodles and fresh milk. 

I go back to the gas station.  I put on my angry face and show the attendant my gas gauge.  "Is something wrong with the machine?" I ask.

"Maybe," she shrugs. 

She pulls out the hose and puts another 15,000 shillings worth of gas in my car.  "Now check your gauge," she asks me.  "Is that enough?"  The ludicrousy of this exercise does not escape me.  "I guess so," I say.

Guilty Mommy is still present, so I decide to pick up Grace early from school.  I pull in and she is playing outside with her friends.  "Why are you here, Mommy?"

"Because you were upset.  Because you didn't want to come to school today."

"Oh."  Long stare.

"Why didn't you want to come to school?"

"Because I didn't think it would be fun.  But it is."

Sigh again.  "Do you want me to come back after lunch like usual?"

"Yes, please."

(She and I will be "discussing" it this afternoon.)

Came home, gave Josiah hot dogs and mango for lunch, and now he is singing in his bedroom instead of sleeping.
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