Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Girl and I returned home from a whirlwind trip to Washington, packed with a leadership course for me, quality family time for both of us, a little bit of spoiling for her, and a wedding for a dear friend. For anyone I didn't manage to see, I'm sorry. I did my best.

It's 1:00 a.m. and we are on our third episode of Dora. Doooora, as Girl says. It's a unique form of torture. Jet lag this direction is particularly hard because work dictates that I must rise before, say, 11 a.m. Waaaay before. While I'm so sleep deprived that I almost don't experience jet lag, Girl does not share that immunity, so here we are. Sleep deprivation + endless Dora episodes = Sad Mommy.

Girl is also alternating between drinking water and spilling it. If I try to take it, she yells, "Mine!" When she spills it, she yells, "Spill! Wet! Derrrryyyy!" I try to take it, she yells, "Mine!" I think you get the picture. It's a fun night.

As for leadership training: as I'm sure all you Foreign Service types out there are dying to know, I'm an ESTP. I was an ENTJ in A-100, but I think this assessment was more accurate. Essentially, I'm an outgoing space cadet who works well with firm deadlines and horribly with theoretical ones. This is not news, but I walked away with a few pointers for staff, boss, and coworkers on how to manage me. First on this list: if you want it done, give me a due date. Second: I think out loud, so don't think I'm wedded to every idea I throw out there. If it sounds looney and half-baked, that's because it is. It's okay if we skip that one. Third: I thrive under pressure, but if you call me to ask for an update on something that's not due for another week, I'll panic. Just trust that I'll get it done. Most importantly: if I'm sitting on something that you need, for the love of Sweet Baby Jesus just tell me. I juggle a lot of tasks at once, and if you need me to focus on one thing so I can hand it over to you, don't be shy.

Because I'm me, I also spent a fair amount of time sitting in class feeling sad about my weaknesses. I don't know why. In fact, I think I'm quite forgiving of others. I pride myself on acknowledging their strengths and putting their flaws in perspective, but I can't do that about my own merits and faults.

Believe it or not, that isn't the thing I'm going to focus on first. My immediate goal is to stick to my own deadlines and/or set deadlines that are more realistic given the nature of my day-to-day. I think I can I think I can.

Well, this has been riveting. Blogging about Myers-Briggs! What a treat for my readers! Doooora #4 just started and Girl is no longer wearing a shirt, having drenched her second one of the night completely. I think that is my cue to read Tom and Lorenzo and anticipate the brutal fatigue that is set to overwhelm me in approximately five short hours. Working Motherhood strikes again.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Living Americana

Whoops. Did I manage to go nearly a month without writing anything? Completely unintentional.

Since my last post the following things have happened:

  • a gecko has been acquired
  • one fish has died
  • two more have replaced it
  • one of those two died
  • I saw Lady Gaga
  • a puppy has been acquired
  • and other non-animal-related and non-Gaga-related things as well.
Oh yeah, and I ran-ish a half marathon. There was a slow moving virus that kept me out of work far too long (the kids' virus, not mine) and the arrival of our new Ambassador.

Wait, did I write a puppy has been acquired? I most certainly did! Let the fuzzy iPhone pictures attest:

This is not a puppy. This is Girl, who has the makings of a crazy bag lady.

This is a puppy.

This is a cold puppy. It was September 1, after all. Can't expect a small puppy to stay warm all on her own in September.

We can add "puppy" to the list of things these two bond over. Also on the list: Legos and poop jokes.

The cats aren't too sure about this development. Tupelo, the fat orange one, takes a swipe at her once a day for good measure. Klezmer, the fat black one, has never hurt a living thing in his life, so mostly hisses and then runs away, which Dali (the not fat puppy) finds to be great fun.

Nope, not scary at all.
More than one reasonable person has expressed utter horror at the idea that we added to our daily burden so dramatically. Two jobs, two kids, two cats, a dog, a gecko, and a fluctuating number of fish, all in a foreign country? Crazypants. 

Yes, it is crazypants. Everything about us is crazypants. Only crazy people drop life as they know it to take a weird government job with the very real possibility of sending you to Bujumbura. Only crazy people decide to drunkenly adopt a cat when they are just kinda dating and then, very sober, follow up on that decision the next day. Only crazy people get engaged after five months. Only crazy people have a child a little over a year into their marriage. Only crazy people do an unaccompanied tour with one person in a war zone and the other in the developing world. Only crazy people add another child to that mix while trying to learn one of the world's hardest languages.* And only crazy people insert a gecko and a puppy into the chaos in less than a month. 

The gecko, it turns out, is not a lot of work.

Husband and I crave a night of good sleep and some free time, but not so much that we will actually pursue it. All joking aside: the dog is something we'd have in the U.S. It's a simple as that. We've been married for over five years, and in this career for 7 (him) and almost 7 (me). Our kids know their grandparents over Skype and Boy thinks he's Estonian. Seriously: try telling him he's American. He does not agree. There are moments--an increasing number of them--when we are desperate for some normalcy. While a few acres in Colorado with a smallish gaggle of livestock (oh! the menagerie we would have!) is out of our geographic reach at the moment and would require a major lifestyle overhaul, a dog is doable. Come PCS time we'll be out a bunch of money and effort, but that's one move a couple years away. What's one more pet to ship?

So forgive me, dear reader, for not writing. A young pup, unlike the gecko, is a whole lot of work.

*Edited to add: oh, and tattoos. We can't forget tattoos.