Sunday, January 25, 2009

Unconventional things to do with Kids in Muscat, part 2

This morning, I had to take a ton (1.64 tons if you must be precise) of stuff to Cerros Steel. Cerros Steel is located in Al Khuwair / MQ, sort of close to the Rugby Club, The fillipino school, and the American school.

I brought the kid along today, since our nanny is off on Sundays. I can hardly think of a more appropriate place to allow a two-year old to run Amok than a huge scrap yard filled with dangerous machines, and piles of jagged rusty metal.

Cerros Steel is the most fantastic place on earth. A veritable wonderland of scary machines, cranes, and rusty, half forgotten crap. While the team at Cerros wrestled with all the crap I had delivered, I wandered, Jaw agape at these insane machines that could cut a car in half at the push of a button.

We watched welding, Lifting, filing, cutting, and powdercoating in action. We checked out the area reserved for custom metal work and marveled at some of the totally tacky shit that has been comissioned for a living room or garden near by. We rode the giant brass Elk, covered though it was in an inch of dust. I pondered all the cool things I could have made if I were to combine my asthetic tastes with thier talent.

The kid had a blast. I would however reccomend that anyone wanting to visit Cerros is up-to-date on the ole' Teatnus shots.

After Cerros, we went to the flooded starbucks, on beach road. They are doing some really interesting stuff with huge boulders and diggers. My Mom has been taking the kid twice a week for a few weeks, and I like to watch as well when I get the time.

I am telling you now, the skill of the guys driving the diggers will blow your mind. Even more impressive is the trust and communication between the team of guys who assist him by moving smaller boulders manually. It's absolutley amazing.

I am trying to explain Teamwork, trust, and communication to the kid, and using these guys as examples. The Kid, if she knew how to talk would be like "Blow Teamwork, Look at this HUGE FUCKING ROCK!!!!"

My daughter has acheived the status of a minor celebrety at this partucular job site, and because the staff are a combination of Italian and Syrian, you get these hilarious "Caio, Habibti" Greetings, complete with any combination of handshake, air kisses, or crazy-ass full on hug. We have yet to score an actual RIDE in one of the diggers, but I"m working on it.

Car reviews, and the Parking lot awards, coming soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barak Obama!!!!

Congratulations America. and well done.

The fireworks at Muscat festival were so appropriate, the timing was perfect.

More Moving related news

So, we are in the New House. In case you were wondering, it is Heaven. In three days, do you you know how many times someone has honked outside my house? Not once. You might also be interested to know that there has not been a single drag race down my street, no one has called my kids any horrible names, the Neighbours are friendly, there is enough parking for my cars, and nobody parks in my yard and throws thier trash all over the place. It's Suburban Bliss at it's finest.

I am exactly Seven Minutes from my office, and Stone is five minutes from his. I am Eight minutes from the Baby's preschool, and Four minutes from the big kids' Bus Stop. Civilised Grocery shopping is a mere twelve minutes away. I have calculated that the new house will save me close to Sixty hours a month of driving. I am really, really really happy.

This is not to say that the move has been an entirely stress free experience. For your reading pleasure, a few random thoughts inspired by the move.

  • You really don't appreciate underwear until you can't find it.
  • Why is it that the coffee pot, coffee filters and coffee grounds never get packed in the same box?
  • Where did we get all this crap? Seriously.
  • Children and Teens are a real pain in the ass to move with. Next move, I am going to send them away for a week.
  • The new house is about 1/5th the size of the old house. Logically, only about 1/5th of the rediculous amount of crap we own fits inside. Certain members of the family are accepting this situation better than others.
  • Our Housemaid's OCD is far, far, far, more severe than we ever imagined. Throwing out useless crap (our useless crap, not hers) appears to cause her actual physical pain. She has taken to storing all our garbage in her room. Stone has suggested that maybe we could get a group rate at the crazy people doctor.
  • I have been unpacking for three days now, and am only half way through the crap we own. One more truck load of crap arrives this afternoon. We are going to have a really big yard sale. Really, really, really big yard sale
  • Surrounded by useless crap, typing on my cardboard box "desk" I am seriously considering a conversion to Zen Buddhisim. Maybe I'll even become a monk. An empty room with a futon and one bowl is starting to look pretty good.
  • One of the best things about the Nawras 3G wireless router is that I have had unlimited internet access throughout the move. I have been able to keep on top of my work, even if that means I am checking emails from the bed of the Abu Shenab, while Stone is driving it.
  • I need to get some food in the house. The baby ate leftover curry for breakfast this morning.
  • I am so impressed with the guys from Writer Relocations, that I am going to email thier corporate HQ. They are really, really, really fantastic movers.

More from here as it happens.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

General Update, House Moving Edition

We are Moving house! As I type, a small army of men in matching yellow shirts are wrapping and boxing all of our worldly posessions. Because we are highly disorganised, the move is complete Chaos, as any good move should be. I am happy to report that So far, I have only lost the Baby once, and My car keys twice. so far, so good.

We are using a different company than the last time we moved across town, and I am really impressed. Thus far, I can highly reccomend Writer relocations as professional, fast, and careful. Stay tuned for the final report.

The final Match of the gulf cup happens tonight, and I am genuinely looking forward to watching our team open up a can of Whup-ass and spray it all over the Saudis. Stone and I will go to watch it at our favorite local watering hole, a dodgy place where I am always the only woman present. This will likely be our last visit to the local dodgy bar, and I have to admit that I'll miss it, and the various weirdos who like to hang out there.

Speaking of final visits to places where weirdos hang out, I mad my last ever shopping trip to Lulu a couple of days ago. Belive me when I tell you I felt no nostalga whatsoever for Zoo-Lu, and the various folks who work / shop / hang out there.

Our final trip to Lulu has inspired a great idea for a post. The Other Oman Parking Lot Design Awards. The Good, The Bad, and The Brainless. Look for it Next week.

Other stuff, in no particular order;
  • I am really angry about everything that's going on in Gaza.
  • The Windsheild on my Truck Leaks! See! It isn't perfect!
  • I am thinking of doing another Used Car review post, because I really like cars.
  • Work is really interesting, and I'm starting a new company with my boss as a sideline to our current businesses. I was totally kidding myself when I thought this would be a part time gig.
  • I finally Sold "The Beast", my old rig that was damaged beyond repair in Cyclone Gonu. It's going to a friend of mine who has ten of them, and really loves the things. The Beast will live on in the form of spare parts for others like him. Rest in Peace Buddy.

More from here as it happens.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Overheard, in my house

The untinended consequences of Facebook
Adolescent#1: So these people on facebook were your friends in high school?
Me: Yeah.
Adolescent#1: You guys are freaks.
Me: Yeah...
Adolescent#1: (Pointing to a recent photo of peirced, tatooed, leather jacket wearing guy with three foot long hair) Who's that? He's really hot.
Me: That's Q, Nice guy.
Adolescent#1: How do you know him?
Me: We used to date.
Adolescent #1: So are you saying he's single now?
Me: This is seriously weird. Don't you have school work to do?

I Feel Nostalgic Whenever I drive through puddles of Raw Sewage

Guest: what the hell are they doing? The street is dug up in like, some sort of freaky ass zig zag pattern!!!
Adolescent#2: It's the wastewater project. They are installing sewers.
Guest: Seriously? I can't belive they are retroactively fitting sewers.
Adolescent#2: Yeah, like, we have had the oppertunity to develop the country from the ground up in the last 40 years, and we're only just now getting round to putting in Public Sewers.
Guest: Let's hear it guys! Give it up for the Romans!!!!!
Adolescent#2: Yeah, the Romans really had thier shit together...
Guest: ......Literally.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

General Update

It's been a pretty good week for the Suburban household.

  • On the car front, for two full days this week, 4 of our 5 cars were operational. This is an extrordinary ratio for us, and diserves celebration. The Abu Shenab spent two days in the shop, having the various remaining electrical gremlins from Gonu fixed, and the Heap of Jeep spent two days on the charger and eventually started in a cloud of blue exhaust. Both cars later succumbed to dead batteries. Hope to have the Abu Shenab running in time to celebrate the next Oman game in the Gulf Cup.
  • On the Neighbourhood front, we have found a new house in my old neighbourhood, and, wait for it,..... We're moving next week! The english language lacks the words to describe how happy I am about this turn of events.
  • Work is busy, and good.
  • I went clothes shopping last week. A task I hate with the passion of a thousand firey suns. In an hour and a half, I managed to find five pairs of jeans that I actually like, and seven shirts. With any luck, I will be able to avoid having to shop again for another year.
  • I have also sub-contracted the rest of my clothes shopping to my boss. We are the same size, but she is waaaay more stylish than me. Thus from now on, she will just buy two of everything. Other than the fact that it's a little creepy to want to be a clone of one's boss, it's a great idea.
  • I got in touch with my best friends from the wilderness years on Facebook. We've been posting albums on facebook, and my god, we were freaks. I can't belive I actually had a mohhawk. Most of my old friends still are freaks, marching to the beat of thier own drummer. Looking at them I feel like I've sold out.
  • My Work email is down today, and thus, I have time to post on my much neglected blog.

Coming soon, overheard in Muscat, Family Edition.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Other Oman Automotive Awards

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's the Otheroman Automotive Awards!
Drum Roll Please!!!

Best Service Station Crew
Shell Station Al Ghubra, Near the Porsche Showroom
Best Gas Pump Attendants
Shell Station coming from Darsait R/A toward Muttrah
Best Oil Change
Salman, the Turkish guy at the Shell station opposite Zakhir Mall
Best Mechanic, Sports Cars
Charlie, Shanfari Automotive
Best Mechanical Team, Jeep and Land Rover
Gopi's guys, at the 4wd center in Wadi Kabir
Best Car Salesman
Hassan from Cars Dubai, Ghubra
Best Independant Spare Parts, Fighting the Man,
Tariq Al Kiyumi, Wadi Kabir
Best Spare Parts, Dealership
Shanfari Jeep, Al Khuwair
And, a few awards for those who have meen measured, and found wanting

Shop most likely to damage your car while in service
Ford, in Wattiyah
Shop most likely to Damage your car further while trying to repair the Initial Damage
Ford, Wattiyah
Shop most likely to fix the damages, but return the car without the radio antennna, and with globs of various shades of red paint from thier attempts to match the paint color all over the off-side fender
Ford, Wattiyah
Shop most likely to take twice as long to repair your car than estimated
Chevy service center, Ghala
Shop Most Likely to Temporarily Lose Your Car
Saud Bahwan Toyota, Wattayah
Most Annoying Sales Team, New Cars
Zubair Automotive, Chrysler Division
Most Annoying Sales Team, Used Cars
That dodgy place just up the hill from the Al Khuwair R/A

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Palestine and road deaths in Oman

Just a quick post, one which will no doubt make me really popular.

I wanted to draw your attantion to the current death toll up in Palestine. According to Al Jazeerah, (not to be confused with Al Jazeera) In the eight days since Israel began airstrikes agains Hamas in the Gaza strip, the current Death Toll at 440, (Associated Press estimates 480)Injuries at 2285. It is estimated that 25 percent of the deaths are innocent civillians.

There have been public demonstrations here in Oman, and pretty much world wide. The front pages of our papers are covered with images of wounded, bleeding innocent children. It is too sad for words.

However, I would like to point out that as yet, the number of deaths due to this latest War campaign by Israel, is about half the number of totally preventable road accident deaths we can be assured of this year in Oman.

Of those road deaths, 50% will constitute innocent civillians, EG passengers or other motorists who will be killed as a result of another party's reckless driving.

So can somebody tell me;
  • When are we going to see front page pictures of our own blood soaked children dying due to our own stupidity and the inexcusable inaction of the authourities?
  • When are we going to see angry protests and marches taking place in front of the ROP traffic department, and Ministry of Health demanding that they use thier power to help stop the carnage occuring on the roads here every day.
  • When is Essa Al Zedjali going to stop abusing his platform and front page space on his misguided, racist and moronic "viewpoints" and start turning his attention to the thousands of Omanis who will be killed or injured on Oman's roads in 2009
  • When is the Majlis Ashura council going to quit fucking around with indignant letters about our human trafficking record and start leaning on the ministries and ROP to enforce the road safety laws we already have?

Never, is my guess.