Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Welcome Home Gifts

Thanks for remembering me, even though I’ve been gone for a while. About the time I recovered from the Nepal Nasties, we had our first visitor from the States, and then Arthur Dent came down with some unidentified illness. Regardless, I’m back in the blogsphere and, if I can remember them all, I have lots of good stories for you. Let’s start with our return from Nepal, shall we??

If you recall, I came home from Nepal dreadfully ill. So ill, in fact, that I didn’t find out until after I recovered just how worried The International Man of Intrigue was about my health. Apparently the part where my face started going numb scared him more than it scared me…but thanks to the modern miracle of antibiotics, that’s all a story for another day. The story for today revolves around our return to the Intrigue Compound.

We got back from Nepal sometime in the wee hours of the morning. I was still feeling ten times worse than awful and the hour van ride from the airport was spent with me concentrating on making it home without making the van driver pull over. Rather than stick around and high-five The International Man of Intrigue or the van driver to celebrate my success, I rushed in the house, intent on making it to my own bed and bathroom. I opened the door to the house and just about fell over. At first, I thought the smell was perhaps from the leaky roof. Maybe the dining room lake had mildewed and spread the smell through the house? Then it hit me. That was the smell of dead things. Oh, Grilled Cheesus, that smell was a dead squirrel. I ordered the Little Explorers to stay directly behind me, took a deep breath, and headed upstairs. To my relief, the smell was less overwhelming up there. When I reached the upstairs old-west-shootout-style balcony, I could see why. There was the body, downstairs, behind the dining room table. It was impossible from upstairs to determine the cause of death. At this point, I did what any self respecting mom with three kids and an intestinal parasite would do: I took the kids to their rooms, shut the doors, and got them ready for bed, counting on the fact that my husband was awesome enough to just take care of the disposal of the body. He was is. He did. He assured me the squirrel’s death was accidental, probably caused by either a fall or being trapped downstairs with no way out. I believed him and went to bed.

The next morning dawned bright and way too early and we realized how wrong we were. A squirrel kept running through the house on the rafters. It was tweeting constantly, and I don’t mean #partyattheintrigues. The high pitched noises woke us up and made us immediately suspicious. Was what we assumed had been a horrible accident actually…murder? Had the squirrel been pushed to his death? I just knew CSI:Colombo was going to show up any minute and arrest us for disposing of the body and disrupting the crime scene. How much trouble were we in for cleaning up all the sticks and rocks and other nasty stuff the squirrels had dropped from the ceiling? I asked The International Man of Intrigue how well he’d hidden the body. He said he’d left it on the curb in a plastic bag for the garbage men to pick up. Since the garbage men secretly hate us, I knew the gig was up.

While the cause of death of Mr. Squirrel was never determined, luckily for us, the punishment for tampering with evidence and all the other crimes we committed is sharing our house with squirrels. Since the squirrels have made it clear by their tweets (#movingintotheintrigues) that they’re not going anywhere, I think our punishment is being carried out.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Poop is Poop

Sorry to leave you for so long, Fellow Adventurers. We just got back last night from a trip to Nepal. I really loved it. I got to celebrate Mothers' Day and my thirty-sixth er...thirtieth er...twenty fifth birthday there. There was just one negative. I got a horrible third world intestinal parasite for my birthday. It's bound to happen eventually, when you live in this part of the world. The fact that I (and the rest of the Intrigue Family) made it four and a half months without it is actually pretty astounding. In honor of that, and because I'm home but not at all on the mend (although the antibiotics should kick in soon) here's a little list of the places we've been and the stomach/intestinal illness names associated with them.

Dhaka, Bangladesh: Dhaka Caca
Delhi, India: Delhi Belly
Pokhara, Nepal: Pokhara Poops
Kathmandu, Nepal: The Kathmandoodoos

I'll be back soon, hopefully feeling like a whole new person. Until then, what are some other place/illness nicknames?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Baby, You Can Drive My Car.

On Wednesday, I went to get my Sri Lankan drivers’ license. Here, the place you get your license is not called the Department of Motor Vehicles. It’s called the Department of Motor Transportation. When we pulled in the gates, I was pretty sure it was going to be different. There was a Buddhist shrine front and center between the buildings. That alone told me this wasn’t going to be a typical DMV (or DMT) experience.

Actually, it turns out, with the exception of the ability to be able to give an offering to Buddha before the big driving test, it was pretty much the same as a Stateside DMV. You walk in, wait in line to get a number to wait in more lines. Once you reach the front of said line, a bored bureaucrat watching the clock and counting the minutes until his or her next break does a little something and sends you to the next line. Luckily for us, since we’re here in an official capacity, we have a little help with the process. Still, in the end, it comes down to paying your fee and sitting in a cubicle with a public servant who has perfected her disaffected sigh. She takes your fingerprint with a scanner and takes the most unflattering picture of you possible, using a webcam, and you’re done. Just like back home.

So, now I’m legal to drive…well, mostly. That is another small difference. Here, you don’t get your license on the spot. I would have had it Friday, but it’s another holiday around here, as usual, so perhaps Tuesday.

Being mostly legal, I thought I should finally try my hand at driving this weekend. I drove to Church this morning. This was my first time ever driving in a vehicle with right side steering and driving on the left side of the road. Did I mention the Terios is also a manual transmission? I only almost got run over by one bus (luckily, not a red bus), turned on the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal four or five times, burst into tears once, and made us five minutes late for Church. I’m going to go ahead and call that a success, mmmmmkay?