Sunday, August 24, 2003


I am evidently living in Egypt.

Not really in Egypt, but on the banks of Da Nile, that's for sure. I have dismantled many parts of my life. I have packed up many things and moved them to the attic. I have made arrangements and said goodbye to many people. I have even taken Clif and Wilson to the airport and watched them go off with a teetering smart cart full of enough stuff to live for five months in a really, really foreign country. And I still can't get down to finishing all the stuff on my list. I have 36 hours. There is not enough caffeine in the world.


It used to be that when we had a thing we really didn't want to do, but knew we had to, we would come up with a completely lame plan for getting out of it. Like, if we were not looking forward to going to some party or something, we would wish for a really bad snowstorm. I think my plan for this trip was a war. Morally repugnant, I know. But if war broke out in Chechnya, I could call a halt to the whole thing. Well, it didn't work out for me. Here I am again, not Taking Advantage of Every Aspect of this Big Adventure and all that.


. . . and I probably won't get upgraded. Clif and Wilson were pulled out of line at the airport and upgraded to first class for the trans-Atlantic leg of their flight. "Yes, yes, you arrived safely . . . great, great . . . BUT HOW DID YOU GET UPGRADED???" He was completely uninterested in answering my question. I asked many different ways--you know how you just keep rephrasing, hoping that somehow comprehension will dawn, and you will get a response? He couldn't answer! He just said, "I can't talk for long." How frustrating! Yes, the plane was completely full; yes someone pulled them out of line and said, "May I see your tickets?" and the next thing they knew it was a 7-course meal and seats that folded out into completely horizontal beds.

There must be an explanation there! And it probably has to do with a precocious ten-year-old little professor I happen to know. I WILL get the story. And contrary to what it says just below, this is not Clifton. I just can't remember how to get it to post under my name. I think I will waste a couple of hours now trying to figure that out. That will be a good use of my time.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Things that wake me up in the night (MN).

I worry:
that I forgot to arrange transfer of one of the utilities.
that I still haven't finalized arrangements for the pets. Clif suggests burlap bag.
that the car needs the oil changed before we park it for 5 months. Also it makes a funny whistling noise.
that I meant to sell the car anyway, but didn't get around to it.
that the car will lose thousands in value while parked.
that I will forget to fix the leaky faucet before I go.
that I will forget to plant the rosebush that has been sitting so patiently in its pot all summer.
that the plane will crash.
that I will miss my connection and be stuck in Vienna for three days until the next AIRZENA flight to Tbilisi.
that James will miss his connection in New York and won't be able to come due to completely nonrefundable ticket.
that Georgian drivers are notoriously bad; we'll be killed in a car crash.
that, worse, only some of us will be killed.
that the tenants will somehow cause a nonsolvable problem in the house.
that the house will somehow cause a nonsolvable problem for the nice tenants.
that the tenants will have a friend over, who will trip and fall; we'll be sued.
that James will be arrested in Portland and will be too embarrassed to call his aunt.
that he will languish for months due to irresponsible, foreign-based parenting.
that asthma and anaphylaxis are words we will have to hear.
BUT I DON'T WORRY ABOUT HEPATITIS B! I have been immunized. Only after the immunizations were well underway did I find out that it is transmitted the same way HIV is. Now I can have sex with IV drug-using Caucasians. Or, alternatively, I can abuse IV drugs with promiscuous Caucasians.
that every editor in New York will forget me completely. "Who??" they will say in February when I come home broke and desperate for work.
that I will be mugged in Vake Park.
that I will have to do my food shopping in open-air markets where no prices are posted.
that I will have to buy meat that does not come wrapped in plastic on a styrofoam tray.
that I will be unable to communicate in this impossible language. Good day is "deelahmshveedohbeesah."
that I won't be able to read the signs. The alphabet is, well, unique. Not Latin, not Cyrillic. You gotta see it to believe it.
that Clif will hire a translator that hates me.
that Clif will hire a driver that hates me.
that Clif will hire a housekeeper that hates me.
that I will hate the driver.
that I will hate the translator.
that I will hate the housekeeper. (But won't it be nice having staff!)
that I will be kidnapped by Chechens.
that, worse, Clif will be kidnapped by Chechens, and I will have to explain to everyone why we decided NOT to buy kidnap insurance.
that there won't be heat or hot water.
that I will miss all the reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, not to mention Angel.
that I will run out of books to read.
that homeschooling will be a worse disaster than I could imagine, and what I can imagine is pretty bad.
that I will somehow make a faux-pas and cause an international incident.
that I will drink too much at a supra and puke.
that I have bought and packed ALL the wrong clothes.
that my suitcases will get stolen, and it turns out I had all the right clothes.
that all the people at the embassy will turn out to be Mr. Hydes now that they've lulled us into complacency with their Dr. Jekyll act, all welcoming and helpful and stuff.
that we will run out of money.
that we will leave all the computers and cameras somewhere by accident and never see them again.
that I will somehow fail to take complete and total advantage of every aspect of this Big Adventure, and I will be seen universally as a Loser and Whiner.
that now that I have come clean about all these anxieties, Clif will despise me.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Packing and worrying.

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