Both our cars are dead. Snorkel Car died on the way to Mike's work, out in the desert, and now needs the transmission replaced. This is going to be a seriously pricy maneuver. Would you believe that it will be less expensive to have a rebuilt one shipped to us from the UK than to buy one here? So that's what we're doing. Craziness.
Bird Car, on the other hand, died on the way home from Mike's work, also in the desert. His co-workers were just driving by in the other direction to make a police report on the hail damage to their Jeep from one of the storms ripping though the UAE lately.
They immediately turned over the keys to him so he could come home to us, securing a ride for themselves back to work with a security man they'd called.
They later got another ride with another co-worker out to our house to pick it up, at which point I'd begged a ride from Cathy who then loaned their car to us for a day. This is the way of things among the expats. Unquestioning generosity.
It was imperative that Mike get home that day because our entire family had an appointment that day to turn in paperwork and get fingerprinted and photographed for our UAE identity cards, an appointment that was made 3 months ago.
We HAD to be there on time or be seriously out of luck. A co-worker had a 9 AM appointment that very morning, showed up only 13 minutes before his scheduled time, and was still waiting when we got there 7 1/2 hours later. We were almost surprised to see him. Almost.
There was a ladies waiting area, and another one for gentlemen. I waited on the men's side, though I did not sit down. This garnered me a few looks, but not the reception Mike would have gotten had he tried to wait on the female side.
We were separated into group by gender again when it was time for the fingerprinting (which was the most thorough and technologically impressive one I think one can experience. I think they can make a 3-D model of my hand now), as the technicians would be actually touching us. Mike and Thomas went to the male technician, Bethy and I were escorted to the female one.
The rental car we ended up getting was a total fiasco of paperwork and miscommunication, of course. Such is the way of things. The delivery guys were particularly irritable with us as it was prayer time, and on a Friday, too. We're such heathens. But we got the car, which was all we cared about. Bird car is still out in the desert, of course, but hopefully we'll get those wheels back on the road sooner rather than later...
Today is Thomas' birthday and I need to get going on making him a cake. He wants a pink cake with a particular caterpillar on it. The caterpillar is a yellow one that graces his favorite Pampers. He giggles like mad when he gets to wear one...I consider this request an exciting design challenge.
Bethy, however, is throwing a fit, claiming that as Thomas is a boy he should NOT have a pink cake. I figure, the kid likes trains and cars and climbing and throwing things, he can like pink as much as he wants.
Bethy had Strep throat, which in itself isn't that interesting, but isn't it interesting that here I simply walk into the nearest pharmacy, say " I have a 6-year-old with Strep" and the pharmacy techs obligingly hand over the antibiotics without a prescription?
The antibiotics may or may not have caused Bethy's rash that looked enough like chicken pox (but wasn't) for the school to send her home...
Rani babysat Thomas while I took Bethy to the doctor for her rash. When we got back home Thomas stank and had terrible diaper rash. I didn't say anything. Rani vehemantly protested her innocence, "Madam, I was not near him, he was playing madam he did not tell me, madam."
At this point Thomas tearfully asked for "happy baby" which is what he calls diaper rash lotion. There's a cute picture of a smiling infant on the container, you see. Rani said "He only said this, Madam." She thought he was saying habibi, which is Arabic for "sweetheart", and is an endearment I use around the house.
The birthday boy in his birthday suit
I couldn't have expected Rani to know "happy baby," wasn't perturbed about it, but it was a shock to find out upon further, gentle questioning, she also doesn't know the words potty and diaper. Diapers are of course "nappies" here, and potty she thought was the Tamil word poddi, or something like that, which means small. Why she would think Thomas was speaking Tamil, well, who knows?
With any luck it won't matter as she'll be more on top of checking his diapers. She babysits only once a week as it is, so his little bottom is probably in good shape.
Here's to Thomas and his little bottom turning three today: Hip hip hooray!