Saturday, February 25, 2012

Extreme Laundry: The "Your Dryer Can't Do This" Edition

Alternate title: When OCD and laundry collide.

We've talked about laundry.

We've talked about how it is one of those chores that has some sort of connection to Mother Nature.

We've talked about how I might become a dryer owner in 2012.

If I do, there will be one thing I miss. Only one. And, I'm really not that sure how much I'll miss it.

Laundry hanging in the Alvarez household (at least when it's me doing the laundry, which it probably is) is quite the undertaking.

I have a method that must be followed. It's because I'm a visionary, you see. I envision myself 4 hours later (or 24 depending on the weather) taking down and folding said clothing. Since laundry is an all day undertaking, there must be some way to make the process simpler.

Now, I'm not so sure I've made this simpler, but I have made the process interesting.

Enough introduction? I thought so.

When the laundry is finished washing, the hanging process is key. I hang all the clothes by type. Starting with PJs. I don't know why I start there, but I always do. I hang up all the PJs, first all the one pieces (btw, we're talking AV's clothes. Ramon and I don't wear footie pjs anymore.) Then all the separates (matched, duh.) Then come the pants- hung by one leg. I don't hang them by the waist because that's the thickest part and will stay wet longer. I don't hang both legs; that takes too much space. After come the onesies. Hang white onesies, then t-shirts, then long sleeves. Last come the socks. I match them from the start. The only break those little pairs get from each other is the free for all in the basin, then it's every one partnered up as it should be.

I know what you're thinking. "I knew she was strange, but, like, whoa, crazy pants. Sorry for her husband."

But, think about it. When it comes to folding, the organizing is already done for me. I don't have that disgusting bed or floor or couch piled high with clothes (don't lie, you've all been there and some of you are there right now and reading this instead of folding.) The laundry practically folds itself. That may or may not be a blatant lie, but, you've got to admit that the plan is pretty ingenious.

And that, my friends, is something that you never knew your dryer couldn't do. When, God willing, a dryer becomes a member of the family, I just hope AV is old enough to fold her own clothes. I mean, I hope I can sacrifice the OCD laundry hanger in me...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

Today marks the beginning of Lent. I think it more often is like the Catholic's New Year's Resolution. Plus, it marks a sad day for candy makers and coffee pots worldwide. 

Not in my house, though. I know myself and Jesus well enough to know that one way to get me to the peace found only in Christ is a big fat Snickers bar or a caramel macchiato. 

Being the good Catholic mother that I am, I took Miss Ana to church this afternoon. At one of the convents/schools in Cholula (aka the city with 365 churches, one of every day of the year, no joke) the friars give out ashes all day long. I don't know that they are officially called friars, but they wear brown robes and rope belts and look just like Friar Tuck, so friars it is. Ana and I walked in and she got psyched. One of her favorite things to do is go and see Papa Dios. 

She liked it right until the exact moment the friar slapped some ashes on my forehead. 

Screams. Tears. Yelling.

Apparently she doesn't like so much that from ashes we have come and to ashes we will return. Or maybe she doesn't really want to repent and live the gospel. I don't know, but what I do know is that church has some excellent acoustics. Those screams reverberated with great magnitude.

In my case, my Lenten goal is to get out of bed when the alarm goes off every morning. Want to know why? I knew you did. I've learned about myself that I have a hard time separating the happenings of the world around me with my personal outlook on life. Meaning that since this has been a hard year at school, I've begun to convince myself that everything else pretty much sucks, too. The drivers speed, cut me off, and I begin to believe that people really only care about themselves. Which, in reality, is so not true. 

I have a beautiful and loving family both near and far. I have a child who rocks my world. I have a husband who loves me. I have a job where I have potential to grow. I have friends both near and far. I have a roof over my head that isn't just a roof but our own home. I have dreams that are coming to fruition. I am challenging myself to grow as a teacher. And I have two new pair of shoes and when I wore one pair, my feet weren't bleeding or killing me at the end of the day.  

There is so much good.

There is so much hope.

My goal is to get up every morning and remember that. Not dread the day ahead, but be thankful that I have a day ahead of me full of possibilities. There is always the possibility that the day will completely blow, but there's also the possibility that it will rock. 

Plus, if I get up earlier, there's more time to drink coffee before work.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

She might be a Gringa after all.

There is no mistaking that my little AV is a Mexican through and through. The kid loves beans. She loves tortillas. She practices the recording from the Pan de Dulce VW bus that passes by. And, the way she says mommy sounds more like mami...and yes, there is a difference.

I was scared there for a while that my little Mexican-American might be more the former than the latter. By scared, I don't really mean scared, but nervousness bodes well for making a story just that much more enticing.

I think 2012 will be the year for AV to own her inner Gringa.

Let's start with peanut butter. Any good American (and by American, I mean someone from the USA since that's what we generally call ourselves, not because I think that the only Americans are from the USA. Take that, global perspective. Booya) grows up on PB sandwiches. Today she snacked on PB and Ritz crackers and was in heaven. Hello, little Gringa, I think I love you.

Delicious is one of her new fave words. It's not so easy to please her little palette these days, so when I hear a delicious, I'll take it. I've gotten a full on, eyes closed, looking towards heaven, can hear angels singing delicious response for three foods: the aforementioned Ritz and Skippy, Hamburgers complete with Kraft cheese slices, and fish sticks.

Fish sticks? Really, AV? You won't eat a nugget, you won't eat any other form of meat (excepting the burger), but you'll devour 5 fish sticks in one sitting? I don't even know and I probably don't want to know what part of the fish makes up the "stick." But, it's protein and if we count the ketchup as a veggie, we've got ourselves a meal.

Good thing Lent is coming up, amiga.

Ranch dressing. Does it get more gringo than that? She tried it for the first time yesterday. Dipped, sucked, dipped, sucked, dipped, got yelled at, gnawed a little on the ranch vehicle, I mean carrot stick, dipped. Classic American Kid.

Even though my little Gringa prefers to say "papas" instead of "potatoes," says "mira" but won't say "look it," and would a million times rather go the the "calle" than go out for "a ride in the car," she's got that Gringa in her. And I love it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

An Ode to Bad Spelling

Let it be known that I used to be one of the world's worst spellers. So bad that in a 6th grade spelling bee, my teacher gave me the easiest word and I spelled it wrong. Mammal is not, in fact, spelled mammel. Damn you, schwa and your undeterminable "uh" sound.

Let it also be known that I also was in high rankings for one of the most gullible people on the planet. My mother had no problem convincing me that playing Scrabble on a Friday night was just about the bees' knees when it comes to a wild night. It was not until (too) much later that I found out that she was tricking me into learning to spell.

I am now a pretty darn good speller. In two languages at that. Which is why I probably love (a little too much) all of the spelling mistakes I see around me. People also just don't have the same relationship with spell check that I do, I guess.

Por ejemplo. There's a little store around the corner that sells all sorts of things like furniture, lamps, mirrors, etc. It's called Deyabu. Gosh, why do I feel like I've seen this word before? Oh yeah, I have seen this word before it was just spelled déjà vu when I saw it last.

Or how about this one for you hungry folks. This little place not only has Laounch-to-go where you can get some succulent barbecued quail or rabbit, but you can also get your car washed. That's normal. But, that's not all. If while you dine or your car is being washed, something is found to be failing, you can take it to the auto shop that also doubles as a cock fighting ring. And, as if car washing, quail dining, car fixing and cock fighting weren't enough, you can also get some new plants for your house at the nursery. Much more than laounch-to-go, I'd say.

Maybe your lunch and car wash turned into a wild night at the fights, once you've picked up a plant as a peace offering for your spouse, (which btw I just tried to spell with a c, bad speller in me won't completely die), you'll want to take her out for a drink. If she's a spelling enthusiast like yours truly, her first look at the menu will be to see how this particular restaurant has chosen to spell the drink traditionally known as the Bloody Mary. What will it be? And, yes, I've seen all of these and I'm not inventing. A Bloddy Mary sound good? Or maybe you'd like a Bloody Merry. That sounds pleasant. Or perhaps a Vlodi Mari would be most exotic.

My sister's most favorite bad spelling came in the form of an internet reference from one of my students my first year of teaching. The rule was that the poster had to have a reference. What do any wise fifth graders do in a pickle when they've  realized that they may have missed that tiny detail? Why, they shall invent the website themselves. I still do wonder what I'd find if I looked up or If you can't figure it out that would be United States dot com and Child Labor in United States dot org, naturally.

So from one mammel to another, all I can say is that spelling, once you figure out how and embrace the fact that you once couldn't, can bring you much more joy than you could have possibly expected.

Yeah, either that, or you're a nerd like me.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Things I Might Become

I've decided that there are some things I might become in 2012. Some people may call these resolutions, but since we're already in February and resolutions generally have to be things that are good for you, I have decided they shall be named, Things to Become.

First, I might become one of those people who drinks a coffee and a coke every single day. This coming from the girl who has spent hours a week making all natural baby food, from a girl who still spends hours a week making homemade yogurt, and girl who just recently converted her entire cleaning supply closet to all natural cleaners. (Except bleach and Ajax, because nothing's really ever clean without them). Back to the coffee.  I've been drinking decaf since I was pregnant enough to not vomit it all over myself and others. Over share. You don't mind. That means we're at about 2 and a half years of caffeine free. So, since I drink decaf, that means I can have more. Plus, I have a new reusable Starbucks cold beverage cup, and it's getting close to the hot season.

Coca-cola, on the other hand, has just about nothing in it that could remotely be considered good for you. But, let me ask you, have you ever had Mexican Coke? If you've had it out of a glass bottle at a side of the road taco stand, then you, my friend, have drunk the nectar of the gods. I like how Coke changes my perspective on life in general right around 11:34 am when I've just finished the morning round of students and the probability of my giving a few students atomic wedgies from the flag pole are a little too high.

Second, I might become something other than a fifth-grade teacher. I wish that statement meant that I was becoming like a principal, or a yoga instructor, or, I don't know, rich. But, alas, I think I shall turn my sights on another grade. I've been teaching fifth grade for five out of my six years in Mexico, with one year in sixth grade. I can tell you a few things from this experience. I don't like sixth graders. I love fifth graders in August. I don't love fifth graders from April-June. I have had two years of rough groups and rough times and although I love the curriculum, am comfortable, know what I'm doing and have zero desire to pack up my classroom and lug it across the school, it might be time to become a different-grade teacher.

Third, I might not become a hunchback. Not that there's anything wrong with Quasimoto or however you could phonetically or non-phonetically spell that name, but I think it's time to improve my posture. I'm a lump. Gut out, shoulders hunched. It's gross. So, whenever you see me, tell me to stand up straight. If I don't see you a lot, it'll be a nice reminder. If I do see you a lot, expect a sucker punch to the stomach after about reminder number five. Fair warning.

Fourth, I might become a member of a mom group. Now this one is less of a might and more of a plans are already in the works. Anyone who is a parent knows that the job isn't easy. Anyone who has lived in a place other than "home" knows that that's not easy, either. Now put together parenting with a different cultural set of priorities, ideals, remedies, etc and you can get yourself a recipe for parenting disaster or, in my case, CMM, Consistent Mothering Meltdown. I am lucky enough to have a small group of ladies around me in similar parenting situations. Another perk is that they're my friends and I like them and their children. Which, btw, is not easy to find. Either you like the kid and not the parent, or like the parent and the kid's a whiner. Anyway, I've got myself a group of gals and we are going to make this happen. And believe you me, I can't wait.

Sit up straight, Shan.

And last, but most certainly not least, I might use 2012 to become a dryer owner. Mother Nature, if she reads my blog, is probably gasping right now at my display of sheer lack of environmental mindedness. But, Mother Nature, if she does read this, go take a look at a few extreme laundry posts and maybe get your act together before judging. Becoming a dryer owner is pending access to available financial resources. And by that I mean, would it be weird to start a fund?

See, not resolutions? Not once did I say that I am going to exercise every day and eat only raw foods and buy organic. But, if they do sell organic coke, I could maybe get on board if it tasted just right.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Few Things

A few things have become apparent lately. Like, it's become apparent that maybe I'm not really a blogger anymore. Here's how that happened.

I got a BlackBerry.

That means I now have a facebook and email machine wherever I go. That, in turn, means that I don't really need to turn on the computer as often. The not turning on the computer severely diminishes the guilt felt when noticing how many of my other friends have posted in the time lapsed between my last ramble.

But, here's the thing, it has also become apparent that my friends on facebook are either one of two extremes and that makes reading facebook a little exhausting. With 2012 bringing with it elections in my two countries and, according to the Mayas, the end of the world as we know it, I'm finding it apparent that I need to find something other than the fb to occupy my time.

Since you all loooooove to read the most purposeful and life-bringing musings that I have to offer, I think I shall turn my attention back on blogging.

You are welcome.