Friday, June 30, 2006

Sweet Morning

Working Friday. Big presentation tomorrow so I've been in the office all day & it looks like it's going to be a pretty late night too.

Weird start of the day though. I woke up about 7:00am & didn't want to believe my alarm. So I switched it off & stayed in bed being lazy a bit longer. Then I heard my cell. I jumped - thinking it was my manager at first. But it was an sms. My manager is not an sms kind of guy. Not when he's in the office & you're late.

The sms said:" Sweet morning baby. Have a good one." And I didn't recognize the number. Stared at it a bit then decided there's no time to worry about it. So I got up, threw my cell on the bed & went into the bathroom. When I came out my husband was holding my cell & looking at me with raised eyebrows. He said sweet morning baby? I said yis3id saba7ak(wishing him a happy morning). He said "saba7 elfol bas meen da?"(Good morning to you but who is this?) Told him I didn't know, that it was probably a wrong number. He said why don't you call the number & ask? I said it wasn't important & if it wasn't a wrong number whoever it was will call or sms again. He said it wasn't important if I didn't think so. Then I asked him if he wanted coffee. He said you get ready I'll get the coffee.

So I did. Of course my manager did have the secretary call me so without even finishing my coffee I kissed him goodbye & left. It was pretty hectic at the office. My husband called me around 2:00.

Him: Inti lissa odamik kiteer?(Do you still have a lot to do?)
Me : Yeah.
Him: Itghadeeti?(Did you have lunch?)
Me : No. Are you hungry?
Him: Yeah.
Me : If you don't feel like going out there's leftovers in the fridge.
Him: Hakul liwa7di kida zay elyateem?(Am I going to eat alone like an orphan?)
Me : 7abibi. I'm sorry. I can't get away.
Him: Come on. You have to take a break sometime.
Me : Wallah mashgoola(I swear am busy). Ba3dain(Besides) everyone is here. I can't leave.
Him: Don't they eat?
Me : I think we'll probably just order pizza. If you like you can come over & eat with me.
Him: La. Ana 3ayzik inti teegi.(No I want you to come over.)
Me : You just want sex.
Him: Ta3ali inti bas wana a2oolik 3ali ana 3ayezo.(Just come over & I'll tell you what I want.)
Me : Tayeb(Ok) let me see what's happening here. I'll give it a try.

But I couldn't get away. It looked like it was going to be pizza & everyone was going to eat at their desk. So I called back & let him know. I asked him to stop by again. He said he would.

He couldn't stay long though. It was really crazy. People kept coming into my office & interrupting us. One guy had an issue with one of the test cases so I was reviewing it on my laptop & he was standing behind me for something like 20 min. Was having a bit of trouble explaining something to him so I kept repeating it.

After he left I said I didn't know what was wrong with the guy, that he wasn't usually so thick. And my husband said I should look at my neckline. I said Na3am(What)? And he said my top was way too low & if he had the view the guy had from where he was standing he'd hang around all day too. Told him that was just his dirty mind talking. He said yeah maybe then again maybe if my necklines were a bit higher I wouldn't get so many anonymous love notes. I said huh? He said whoever sent me that sms must be someone I work with, otherwise how would he know I'd be up that early on a Friday?

I couldn't believe he was still thinking about that. And what's with the 'so many anonymous love notes'?It was just one! And it wasn't a love note. It was just a good morning. Told him if he was going to go on about it all day I'd just call the number. And I did. No one picked up. I told him to try it from his number. He did & no one picked up either.

My husband left soon after that. Now am really curious about that sms. I called several times & no one is picking up. It probably is just a wrong number but if so then why no reply? I wonder if I'll ever find out?


Thursday, June 29, 2006


On Tuesday I went to the mall after work to meet some friends for lunch. After lunch the guys left & we girls to decided to stay behind & you guessed it - do some shopping. It was so much fun. Really enjoyed trying out clothes with a bunch of likeminded individuals for a change. I hate shopping with my husband. He takes all the joy out of it.

At some point I noticed that my cell had been unusually silent for over an hour. Checked in my handbag. It wasn't there. Great. The girls started calling my number from their cells. It would ring & ring but no one would pick up.

So we started retracing our steps, visiting every shop where one of us wanted to try something & the rest of us went in with her to play fashion consultant. After the third shop yielded no results I was starting to get agitated. Thankfully someone finally answered it. It was a salesgirl so we knew which shop to get it from.

One of the girls told me that my cell was 'mal 7alal' & that was why we found it. That means it was bought from money obtained by honest means so God blessed it & I can't lose it. It was nice to hear but it made me a bit nervous because I mean I've lost lots of things that I never found before so does that mean they were all 7aram?

There were 15 missed calls. Most from the girls I was with. One from work. And a few from various other people. But one was from my husband. I called him back but his cell was diverted to the office & I got the reception. She said he had a patient with him & asked me if I'd like to leave a message. What could I say? Please tell him I wish he wouldn't be so hard to get on the phone because maybe then I wouldn't be going crazy everytime he calls & I miss it & I can't get him back? I told her no thanks. My friends were saying LouLou he's your husband & it's just a phonecall. I know but I still don't want to miss any of his calls.

Being married hasn't changed the fact that I get ridiculously excited when my cell rings & I see his number. And ridiculously pissed off if I missed the call. Anyway I wasn't going to be the party-pooper so I made an effort to enjoy the rest of the time with my friends until I could get away & go home. But it did affect my mood.

I really hate the way whenever he's out of my sight he's completely unreachable. It's not just when he's at work. He's really terrible with phones. Once he was out with his friends at the 'ahwa'(Arabic teashop) until almost 2:00am. And he left his cell in the car. I was calling & calling. I went absolutely frantic. I thought something happened to him. I actually started calling police stations & hospitals to see if there's been an accident. In the end I got in my car & drove out there. I wasn't even sure which teashop they were in. They have more than one hangout. So I had to visit 5 or 6 different places. It wasn't fun because these places are usually not frequented by women & that late at night there were a lot of sleazeballs around. Someone actually pinched my butt on my way out of one of them. And of course I heard all kinds of disgusting comments. Good thing I was too panicked for that sort of thing to bother me then.

When I did find him it was of course a big fight because it's a major insult to his Arab macho pride that his wife should walk into a place like that by herself so late at night thereby subjecting herself to the kind of sexual harrassment I had to put up with & infront of his Arab friends too. He was so furious I never told him how many of these places I had actually been in that night or what happened to me. I was furious too. Damn it. Why can't he just answer the phone? Did he think I enjoyed being out of my mind with worry & running around looking for him all over town like a lunatic?

After that incident I made a point of saving all his friend's numbers on my cell. Am more likely to get him on his friend's numbers than on his own! On any number other than his own. I call the gym where he goes to work out. And the coffee shops & restaurants he frequents. When he's outdoors I call the guys. I never tried going out looking for him again because I didn't like his reaction to that one.

Of course he still doesn't like that. He asks why do I have to call the whole world asking about him, that he's not '3ayel tayeh'(lost kid). Initially I'll call him for no particular reason, just because I feel like hearing his voice. Or because am stressed out about something & he's really good at helping me to calm down when he's takes the time. But when he doesn't pick up after repeated calls I get seriously worried. Then when I finally reach him after I've moved Heaven & Earth & he's asking 'what's going on' I get too embarrassed to say I just missed you & wanted to hear your voice. It sounds stupid. I feel like I should have a good reason for causing a crisis so I find myself making up something.

When he's out of town I beg & beg before he leaves please call me, at least let me know you arrived safely etc....And that will earn me one phonecall. The first one. After that it's back to normal, me chasing him all over.

I don't get it. If I didn't always find out where he is & what he's doing I'd think he's purposely avoiding my calls because he's with another woman or something. Is it really that much to ask that he should keep in touch when we're not together?


Monday, June 26, 2006

Nothing in Particular

So sleepy. Got up just before 5 this morning. Was exhausted but couldn't go back to sleep until I heard the call for prayer. Then I heard my husband get up to go to the mosque. I don't normally pray Fajir(dawn) on time. He'll get up, wash, go downstairs to the mosque, pray, come back, throw himself on the bed & be out like a light in two minutes flat. He doesn't have to get up for work until 8:30 anyway. But me once I get up I can't go back to sleep. And there isn't time anyway. I start work too early so I just pray whenever I get up.

But today since I was up anyway I told him I wanted to tag along. Of course we had to drive to a mosque because the one just downstairs doesn't have a section for women but I've had my rant about that. It was a new experience. Have never attended dawn prayers in the mosque before. Well I did actually. In Ramadan in Casa. But that was only for 10 days out of my whole life. And am not going to compare praying in Casa to praying here. There's a spiritual dimension that is competely lacking in this country. The zikr, the nasheed, the beautiful prayers you can hear coming out of every mosque almost all the time - especially in Ramadan. I can remember opening the windows in my grandfather's bedroom right after we came back from dawn prayer & they were just chanting the 99 names of Allah, over & over again from several nearby mosques. The voices were all so gentle & the way they intermingled was so powerful. It was beautiful & it filled your heart.

Congregational prayer here is too mechanical, too contrived & before Sept.11, it was too politicized. At least now the political dimension is gone but still it alienates me. Maybe because I was raised on a different set of beliefs, a different sect/cultural interpretation. Maybe this is why listening to sermons here is like listening to someone preaching a foreign religion with tenets that never become truly familiar no matter how often you hear them. I miss the sense of religious belonging that I experience on my visits back home.

I was the only one in the women's section this morning. It felt like having the whole mosque to myself. Kind of like praying at home. The Imam had a really nice voice. I felt from his accent that he might be Moroccan & it turned out he was. Which just added to the nostalgia.

Went home feeling virtuous & reassured though. It's this high that I get on days when I've completed all my prayers on time - which is not as often as it should be. But since dawn is the one I always miss & I didn't miss it today I figure that's off to a pretty good start no?

In my newfound spirit of virtue I decided to cook us breakfast as a change since the only meal we have together on weekdays is dinner. I made foul(beans), felafel(ta3mia), French omelette & I set everything on the table with labneh, zaatar, olive oil, coffee & strawberry juice. You can tell that I've been to too many international breakfast/brunch buffets no?

Of course we couldn't eat all of that. Some of it went back in the fridge. And the rest I packed up in aluminum, microwaveable containers to give to the security guards & cleaning boys/ladies downstairs. More virtue.

On the way to the office he sent me sms saying basically thanks for breakfast, that everything was delicious. Which was sweet.

I was naturally late for work. You can't expect me to get up at 5 in the morning & make it to the office by 7:30. It's weird but I never make it on time if I got up early because I'll get all excited & come up with these ambitious projects for what can be done with all the extra time. Am much more likely to be on time if I got up at 6:45 or something.

The person I kept waiting this time was a bit of a VIP. A pretty big client. Good thing my manager was out of town or he'd have killed me for keeping this guy waiting. In addition to being a VIP the guy is also very, very hot. It's truly amazing the number of gorgeous Egyptian guys I know. Especially older guys. For some reason the new generation can't seem to keep up the same standard. I don't know where all the good genes go. But I digress.

I remember the very first meeting I had with this guy was about 2 years ago. A friend of mine - also Egyptian - works for him. When I came out of the meeting I told her this is your boss? And she told me "Shofti?Talat sineen wana mista7mila elgolb da kolo" which means "3 years I've had to live with all this". Poor girl. He's a Brit who speaks English with this amazing Pierce Brosnan kind of accent. Now I've always loved the British sense of irony. And Egyptians are also famous for being funny. So you can imagine someone who combines both. Meetings with him are a riot. Basically the man is a god. He is tall, fit, gorgeous, highly educated, very successful, filthy rich, funny, charming, you name it. The Eligible Bachelor of the Year. And every year. He's also 41 years old & never married - very unusual for an Arab. A confirmed bachelor. I know so many girls who tried & failed to 'catch' him. We're talking 18 & 19 & 20-yr old girls here. Half his age & they're all dreaming about him. I hope he doesn't turn out to be gay. We don't THINK so because he's a flirt & doesn't seem to have any particular aversion to checking out the female talent in his line of vision. But you never know.

I once had hopes for my friend D but she said he was too much like a movie star & that he intimidates her, that she just wants a regular guy.

In other news, he is the only person I know who calls me 'ya bashmohandesa' which means 'Engineer'. I don't think of what I do as engineering & no one else calls me that. And he once told me that my name was very unusual & that he used to know a bellydancer in Egypt who had the same name.

The meeting went ok. Not much ground to cover really. My manager had prepared a proposal for them before he left & he wanted me to present it so I did. He raised some issues I was not authorized to act on so I had to tell him we'd get back to him. I faxed my manager the minutes of the meeting & am waiting for instructions on how to proceed.

And now am sitting in my office with the lack of sleep starting to catch up with me. Called my husband. He couldn't be reached. Hate it when that happens. Sometimes when he knows I didn't get enough sleep the night before he'll call to check on me at work. Only sometimes. He did it a couple of times so now I consider it a God-given birthright & feel disappointed if it doesn't happen.

Called my mother next. Me & her used to talk twice a week after they left. Then when I had the miscarriage we started talking everyday & now we can't stop. I have to speak to her from work everyday. My Dad is getting upset. Since I talk to Mama in the morning when he's at work, I don't bother to call in the evenings anymore so I never get to speak to him. Mama tells me all his news anyway.

That's something else that's bugging me. Over the last 2 months, first my father, then my mother have gone back to work. So now both my supposedly retired parents have full-time jobs. I can't help wondering then why did they leave here? That was the reason they left. Baba kept saying how exhausted he was, how he wanted to spend time in his country with Mama & his relatives & my younger siblings before he's so old he doesn't recognize people etc.....So he resigns, moves back home & only 3 months later, decides he can't stand retirement & goes back to work. Then Mama does the same. So why didn't they just stay here? I would have loved to have them near me. Did he just want to move back because of his brothers, sisters etc...?Are they more important to him than me? It has to be him. Mama doesn't have any family in Morocco so it can't be her. I haven't said anything to either of them because what's the point? But I can't help feeling a little sad & hurt.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I Hate Football

Last night against my better judgement me & my girlfriends M(little LouLou's Mom) & D let our menfolk talk us into going out to watch the Brazil-Japan game at a coffee-shop on the Corniche. So the 6 of us met at the coffee shop around 10:30pm. That's me & M with our respective husbands & D with her bf who also happens to be my uncle - thanks to my short-lived but brilliant career as a matchmaker. One big happy family.

It started out ok. We were all hungry & the food was good. It was disposed of quickly. My husband made me have a Margarita pizza followed by waffles & choc ice cream. He always puts me on a diet of pizza & chocolate when he thinks I need to gain weight. Is it any wonder that I love this man? How can I not love a man who force-feeds me pizza & choc?

Afterwards we ordered Moroccan tea & sheesha. They arrived right before the game started. Things started to go downhill from there. At least for me. I tried to get into the spirit of things. I really did. But am just not the stuff that sports spectators are made of. If a game interested me that much I'd be playing it. Am sorry but watching other people play sports does not do anything for me. It DOESN'T. So shoot me. Even dinner with the Swedish dentists at their worst was never that boring. I mean with the Swedish dentists at least I could be heard. With the football fanatics even if they did happen to be my nearest & dearest no one could hear me over all the TV & the cheering & the screaming in the coffee-shop. And no one wanted to.

Was getting restless. The place started to make me feel claustrophobic as more & more people kept pouring in to watch the game. Was getting sticky & hot - not sure if that was nerves or if the place was too packed for the AC to handle. The noise was giving me a headache. And all that cigarette & sheesha smoke. That tells you how bored I was. Would noise, a little sweat, crowds & smoke bother me if I was out at my favorite club in the middle of the dance floor? Hell no.

At some point K started combing his fingers through my hair. I looked up at him but he had his eyes glued to the screen. I knew he wasn't being affectionate there. Force of habit. If am within arm's length he can't keep his hands off my hair. He does it to keep his hands busy. It doesn't mean he's paying any attention to me. At least not consciously.

The funny thing is that if am trying to concentrate on something I start playing with my hair too. I twist the strands at the front & I even chew on them sometimes if am really nervous. And then if he's anywhere near me & he starts playing with my hair too you get this really bizzare situation where we're BOTH playing with my hair, me in the front, him in the back.

On this occasion though the feel of his fingers in my hair just added to the claustrophobia. It was like one more reason why I couldn't move. No room, too many people in the way who would kill me if I tried to stand up so they couldn't see the screen & then this....

Was saved by the bell. Or by the half-time actually. Things got much quieter then - although there was still a lot of animated chatter. The guys broke into a heated discussion about the game. The girls joined in eventually. And I kept thinking oh God one more hour of this, I could not live through it.

I called my husband's name a couple of times but he was talking too animatedly to hear me. Even though he was still playing with my hair. I didn't have the energy to speak any louder so I started tugging on his sleeve to get his attention. It made me feel about 6 years old. When he asked me if everything was ok I told him I wanted to go for a walk. He said where. I said outside. He said it was too hot & humid outside. I said it might be nice by the water. He kissed me. It was a shut-up-woman-you-talk-too-much kind of kiss. And he went back to talking football with everyone else. A few minutes later he suddenly turned to me & kissed me again - for a little longer this time. Even though I was already keeping my mouth shut so he could watch the game in peace.

I love to be kissed. And at that particular moment I was grateful for any crumb of attention from anyone. But he & my uncle once clashed over this sort of thing. Not everyone in my family thinks very highly of public displays of affection. I waited to see if my uncle would make an issue but he was busy talking to the other guy & didn't seem to have noticed.

I said I needed to go find the bathroom - feeling even more like a 6-yr-old. Going to the bathroom was the excuse I used a lot when I was little & couldn't sit still in class. I felt a bit better after freshening up in there though. Except on my way out a waitress approached me & said the manager would like to speak to me. The manager was also a lady. She explained that some people had complained that they were scandalized by the fact that my husband was kissing me & touching my hair infront of their women & impressionable youngsters etc....What could I say? It was embarrassing & annoying but I knew it could turn into something serious. In UAE the golden rule is to do what you want as long as no one complains. And some prudish religious fanatic obviously complained or the management would never have approached us in that manner.I've seen couples do a lot more & get away with it. I didn't feel like being arrested for indecent exposure though. It would have been the perfect ending to a perfect night no? I mean he doesn't have anything to worry about. He's an EU citizen. No one in UAE is going to throw a Westerner in jail for kissing in public. They'd never risk a diplomatic incident over something so silly. But me? Well if they jailed me forever they risked no diplomatic incident whatsoever. I have several passports but they're all Middle Eastern.

I went back & changed seats with M so I was not sitting right next to my husband. Didn't feel like telling him what happened because it would have pissed him off & he'd have gone & started some sort of fight. He keeps saying it's no one's business what we do & I keep trying to explain that that's not how the system works here, that this is not Scandinavia etc....Wasn't in the mood for that conversation last night. Besides he didn't have the attention span to spare me.

In the car on the way home I told him & as expected he asked why I didn't tell him while we were there so he could find out who complained & give them a piece of his mind. Sigh.

I made him take me dancing afterwards. He hates dancing as much as I hate football I think. Because I've decided that as of last night, I hate football. Am coming out of the closet. I think football is a silly sport. And even if am the only person in the entire galaxy who feels that way am not going to hide it any longer.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Writing about my in-laws made me start thinking about what kind of in-law I might be. The inescapable conclusion is that I suck at it. I really do.

I have 2 sisters-in-law & I was difficult for both of them. It's expected really. My older brothers were more like father figures than siblings. So it was natural for me to treat their girlfriends/wives like evil stepmothers.

The age difference might have been part of it. My brothers are 10 & 6 years older than me respectively. But I think the real explanation is the way we were raised.

My father's work always made him a frequent traveler so he was absent a lot when we were growing up. And my mother had a very high pressure job as an emergency room doctor. She worked long hours & would come home physically & emotionally drained. We would be trying to take care of her & help her to relax. So from a very early age you thought a million times before causing her more stress by getting in trouble. We always knew that our parents worked very hard to provide us with a good life so there was this emphasis on trying to be good & not adding to their problems etc...I mean my brothers always had this attitude. They were always very protective of our parents, especially of my Mom. And this was the environment I found myself in.

As a result we always had a running joke that my parents & my brothers were like the legislative & executive branches of government. My parents defined policies in broad terms & my brothers would oversee the day-to-day details of adhering to these policies.

I think my brothers were the oldest teenage boys I've ever seen. Because my father was so busy they were the ones who had to take care of my parents' investments & business interests – most of which were in Morocco. It's really impressive to think that at age 16 or 17 my brothers would spend their summer holidays overseeing the building of our house in Morocco, dealing with builders, contractors etc…..buying & selling farmland, renting out properties etc…..It was quite normal to see them talking about laws & bureaucracy & real estate prices when they were still in high school.

Within the home, they were the ones who helped me with my school work. If I failed to do well they would guilt-trip me saying do you know how much your parents are paying to send you to this school & how disappointed they would be etc……My brothers were the ones who knew who my friends were. It was their job to worry if I was hanging out with the wrong people. They knew all my hang-outs. And they were so strict that looking back I find it amazing that two boys their age would find the time & patience to monitor younger siblings the way they did with me & my younger brother & sister.

Once when I was about 14 I wanted to go away on holiday with a friend & her family. When I told my father he called my brother into the room & told him your sister wants to go away with her friend what do you know about this girl & her family? And my brother said he didn't like the girl or her family. So my father said no. That simple. Of course this sort of thing used to make me FURIOUS growing up, that my brothers had so much power over me, that sometimes they would actually get in trouble if I got in trouble for not watching me better!

As a result my teenage rebellion was directed more at my brothers than my parents. They were the ones I had to struggle to get my independence from. But they were also the people I could count on & talk to. And they were the ones I went to with most of my problems. I loved them both to death even while I complained about how over-protective & dominating they were. I was not used to their having other priorities or not having time for me.

So you can imagine what it was like when they started dating. My favorite past-time since I was 11 or 12 was to scare away any girl who dated either one of my brothers. And I got pretty good at it.

To be contd.


My oldest brother M was the one who got most of the attention - mainly because there were more women around him. He was such a womanizer. So I took great advantage of that fact. I would answer one of his gf's on the phone & pretend to be confused & call her by another girl's name. She would tell me no am not X am Y. So I'd say oh sorry you're not the lady who was here yesterday? And she would get instantly suspicious & say who was there yesterday? It still amazes me how catty & competitive girls get. And I knew my brother hated these things. If two girls started fighting over him he'd just dump both of them. Cattiness really turned him off.

The funny thing was that he never suspected me of having ulterior motives or doing it on purpose. Both times it happened I pretended innocence & he assumed it was an honest mistake. Yes I did it twice.

And the more he liked a girl the more I hated her. I remember once he was dating this Belgian girl. She lived with her mother & a younger sister & she had him running errands for her & her family all the time. It used to drive me crazy. Once he was out with her & I was with my friends & I made my friend call him & tell him that am really sick so he'd have to come pick me up. That time I got caught though. My brother is a doctor. Faking illness with him was not really my brightest idea ever. He took me home & we went into my room, took my temperature, opened my shirt & was examining me & asked me a few questions then said that I had all the symptoms of a virus called Spoilt Brat Syndrome. I got grounded for 2 weeks over that incident. Yes my brothers could ground me. He said that if I was going to interfere with other people's social life then I needed to know what it feels like. My parents agreed with him. Mama said that illness is not a joke & I shouldn't go around faking it & worrying people.

Of course it just made me hate his girlfriend more. To my pre-teen mind he grounded me because of her because he cared about her more than me. And I wasn't going to take that lying down. I was so rude to her. I made fun of her English, of her clothes. I would tell her she was using him, that she didn't love him. I would throw tantrums everytime I saw her. Am sure they didn't eventually break up because of me but I probably didn't help either. After they broke up I started to feel bad though because it was clear that he had a bit of a broken heart. I think he really liked her.

When my oldest brother did get married it was an Algerian girl he met in France. I didn't know anything about her until he called to tell us he was getting married. I met my sister-in-law for the first time a few days before the wedding & I gave her the usual reception. I was very upset at the time because we wanted my brother to come back to UAE to work after he finished his studies in France. But after he married her he decided to stay in France because she didn't want to live in UAE. I felt she stole him from us. Of course my feelings changed later. I grew up. But things are still a bit strained with her because I don't think she ever forgave me the treatment she got from me in the beginning. And again distance makes it harder to work on these things. I mean she didn't come for my wedding even though I begged her to. My brother came with my baby niece but she stayed behind.

That is not to say that I left my other brother alone. It was just that he was a very private person so it was harder for me to find out when there was someone in his life. My second sister-in-law was too sweet not to like. Unlike my first sister-in-law she was living here & she just wouldn't stop trying with me. In the end I gave in. And I loved my brother's children too much to be mean to their mother. It was actually very hard when they moved away last September. I missed them all a lot. I still do.


Monday, June 19, 2006

His Mother: 3amil eh ma3aki elwad da? (How is this boy doing with you?)

Me (smiling at hearing him called that): El7amdullilah(Thank God (fine))

His Mother: El7amdullilah dayman ya binti bas ana 3ayza atamin 3laikum(Thank God always love but I want to be sure you two are fine together)Eh howa mza3alik(Has he been upsetting you)?

Him: Tab ishma3na ana ba2a ma7adish biysa'alni hiya 3amla eh ma3aya(How come no one asks me how she's doing with me?)?Mish yimkin hiya illy mza3alani?(Maybe she's been upsetting me?)

His Mother: Winta btitkalim leh min ghair ma 7ad yisa'alak?(Why are you talking if no one asked you?)

Him: Allah, Allah. Eh da?(What is this?) Howa inti 7amat-ha wala omaha?(Are you her mother or her mother-in-law) Di omaha ma bti3milshi fiya kida(Even her mother never gave me such a hard time).

His Mother: Ana 7amatak inta.(I am YOUR mother-in-law). Di binti.(She's my daughter now) Elbint mish 3agbani(The girl doesn't look good). Khasa kida wi wishaha makhtoof(She lost weight & she is pale). Di kanit zay elwarda elmifata7a ayam elfara7.(She was like a fresh flower during the wedding)

I had to give her a hug here. That was so sweet.

Him: Wana ya3ni illy mdabilha?(And I made her wilt?) Mahi a3da odamik ahi zay el7osan wi mish bitbatal di7k(She's sitting infront of you in perfect health & she can't stop laughing.).

Was cracking up too much to say anything at this point.

His Mother: Seebik minu wi kalimeeni ana ya 7abibti(Don't mind him. You tell me sweetie). Howa biytnarfiz 3laiki?(Does he lose his temper with you?)

Me: La narfaza howa ma yitnarfaz elsara7a ya3ni.(No to be honest he doesn't lose his temper much)

His Mother: Yib2a biy2fish wi yiwadi wishu elna7iya eltaniya wi yib2a mish 3ayiz 7ad yikalimu mish kida?(But he goes into bad moods & broods & doesn't want anyone to talk to him right?)

Me: Aiwa ta3ibni bilkhisam(Yes he's giving me a hard time that way) Kteer yidala3(He loves to be pampered/grovelled at).

His Mother(glaring at him): Ma ana 3arfah(Yes I know him). Inti hat2oolili. Ma yit3ibkeesh leh da tool 3omro wagi3 albi ma3ah(Of course he's giving you a hard time. He gave me a hard time all his life). Biyb2a nikadi bshakl wi albu iswid.(He can be so unpleasant)

Him: Salamit albak ya gameel. Howa ana a2dar? Da inti sitt elkol.(Basically he's trying to sweettalk his Mom here. Not sure how to translate all that.)

His Mother(to him): Inta ma 3andaksh dam?(Have you no shame?) Ba2a elbint sayba ahlaha wi mitgharaba 3ashanak timarmat-ha ma3ak bilshakli da?(The girl leaves her family to live abroad with you & you do this to her?) Inta eh? Ma 3andaksh ikhwat banat? (Don't you have sisters?)Fahim ini banat elnas li3ba?(Do you think people's daughters are toys?)

Him: Tab mana kaman sayeb ahli wi mitgharab ma3aha.(I am leaving my family to live abroad with her too! ) Ba3dain amarmat meen howa ana 3arif akalimha(And who said I give her a hard time?I can't even say anything to her)? Di maya min ta7t tibn.(Not sure what that means) Mish 3ashan a3da odamik sakta yib2a malhash sot.(Don't think that because she's sitting there all quiet infront of you it means she has no voice.)

His Mother: Howa ana tayha 3anak?(You think I don't know you?) Ibni wana 3arfak(You're my son). 3ayez eh?(What more do you want?) Elbint bismallah allahu akbar 2mar wi zay elnisma(The girl is beautiful & gentle like a breeze). Di tit7at 3algar7 yibrad.

Him: Yibrad eh bas yamma? Di tit7at 3algar7 yiwla3 isa'aleeni ana

His Mother: Ya wad ikhtishi

Him: 7adir

His Mother (In a threatening tone): Hatkhali balak min baitak wi mratak wala eh?(Are you gonna take better care of your wife & your marriage or what?)

Him: Di fi 3naya (I am taking care of her)

His Mother: Fi 3naik mish kifaya. Inta t7utaha 3ala rasak min fo2.(She wants him to take care of me more)

Him: Yasalam.Tab wihiya?(What about her?)

His Mother: Malaksh da3wa beeha hiya. Inta ti3mil illy ba2oolak 3laih hatla2eeha hiya kaman 7atak fi 3naiha.(You just do as I say & she will take care of you too)

Him: 7adir. Amma nshoof akhrit-ha.(Yes we'll see the end of this).

I love it! Have never seen him say 7adir(Yes) as often as he does with his mother. It's so cute the way she scolds him & he has to take it. He was like a naughty 6-yr-old.:)

It's especially funny because during an argument last week I remember saying to him 'ana qultlak la tsawi.....'(I told you not to do something) & he got so angry at me. He said that was disrespectful to talk to him like that. And he said 'ana ommi illy khalifitni ma ti2darsh ti2ooli ana mish oultilak'(My own mother can't talk to me like that). I was so puzzled. Just didn't get that. What's so insulting about reminding him of something I told him before?

Well now I know how his mother can & does talk to him! He can't give me that macho act anymore. Am so glad she was on my side this time though. She arrived today & ever since she came she's been giving me concerned glances & asking if am ok. It seems I really do look like a concentration camp survivor. Very sweet of her to be concerned. Now I feel bad that I didn't like her at first.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

World Cup

Dear Wife,

1) From 9 June to 9 July 2006, you should read the sports section of the newspaper so that you are aware of what is going on regarding the World Cup, and that way you will be able to join in the conversations. If you fail to do this, then you will be looked at in a bad way, or you will be totally ignored. DO NOT complain about not receiving any attention.

2) During the World Cup, the television is mine, at all times, without any exceptions.

3) If you have to pass by in front of the TV during a game, I don't mind, as long as you do it crawling on the floor and without distracting me.

4) During the games I will be blind, deaf and mute, unless I require a refill of my drink or something to eat. You are out of your mind if you expect me to listen to you, open the door, answer the telephone.

5) It would be a good idea for you to keep at least 2 six packs in the fridge at all times, as well as plenty of things to nibble on, and please do not make any funny faces to my friends when they come over to watch the games. In return, you will be allowed to use the TV in the afternoon, unless they replay a good game that I missed.

6) Please, please, please!! If you see me upset because one of my teams is losing, DO NOT say "get over it, its only a game", or "don't worry, they'll win next time". If you say these things, you will only make me angrier and I will love you less. Remember, you will never ever know more about football than me and your so-called "words of encouragement" will only lead to a divorce.

7) You are welcome to sit with me to watch one game and you can talk to me during halftime but only when the commercials are on, and only if the halftime score is pleasing me. In addition, please note I am saying "one" game; hence do not use the World Cup as a nice cheesy excuse to "spend time together".

8) The replays of the goals are very important. I don't care if I have seen them or I haven't seen them, I want to see them again. Many times.

9) Tell your friends NOT to have any babies, or any other child related
parties or gatherings that requires my attendance because:
a) I will not go,
b) I will not go, and
c) I will not go.

10) But, if a friend of mine invites us to his house on a Sunday to watch a game, we will be there in a flash.

11) The daily World Cup highlights show on TV every night is just as important as the games themselves. Do not even think about saying "but you have already seen this...why don't you change the channel to something we can all watch?" because, the reply will be, "Refer to Rule #2 of this list".

12) And finally, please save your expressions such as "Thank God the World Cup is only every 4 years". I am immune to these words, because after this comes the Champions League, Italian League, Spanish League, Premier League, FA Cup, etc.

Thank you for your cooperation,
Your Loving Husband

Friday, June 16, 2006

Turning Corners

Me : Well how would you feel if you were in my office & you saw a male co-worker help me put on my jacket?
Him : Ma yi2darsh
Me : Yassalam. Laish la?
Him : Awalan inti(First) you don't take your jacket off at work 3ashan 7asab 3ilmi ya3ni inik mish bto3odi filmaktab in your bra(because as far as I know you don't sit in the office in your bra). Thaniyan ma 7adish tab3an yistagri yeegi gambik wana mowgood(Secondly no one would dare come near you in my presence). Willy yigarab ana hatala3 lik mayteen ommo.(And if anyone tries he will do something not very nice to their mother.) Inti btitkalimi fi badeehiyat ya3ni(That is a given).

The worst part is that he's right. All the men I know really watch their step when he's around. Forget touching me. They don't even talk to me as freely as they otherwise would despite my repeated assurances to them that it's ok, that he doesn't bite etc.... It's not fair. How come I can't scare other women off him the way he can scare other men off me?

Him : Why don't you just tell me what's on your mind?
Me : Considering the fact that in your arrogance you're not even worried you'll ever find yourself in such a position I guess there's no point in asking you to put yourself in my place when it happens to me. You couldn't imagine how it feels.
Him : Can we please get specific here?
Me : No
Him : Why not?
Me : I just don't feel like discussing it anymore. I think we have more important things to discuss.
Him : Ana ta7t amrik tab3an bas nifsi titaw3eeni wit2oolili 3ala illy ta3bik min ghair laf wala darawan wala moqaranat wi tashbeehat damaha t2eel. Sada2eeni haraya7ik.(It's up to you but I wish you would tell me what's bothering you without beating around the bush. Believe me I will make you feel better.)

Of course he managed to get it out of me in the end. All of it. I made sure I didn't accuse him of anything & stressed that I trusted him. I thought he took it pretty well actually. He said he said am probably blowing the whole thing out of proportion but that if am upset & there's something he can reasonably do about it, he will always do his best. Which I thought was sweet.

Then he added that the problem was that too often when am upset these days there's nothing he can do about it & that it actually makes him happy that am presenting him with a problem he can solve for a change.

This weekend had its difficult moments but all in all I loved it. I decided to surprise him with a weekend getaway. We had a chalet in Jebel Ali with a little private beach where we could spend a lot of time in the water together - something we haven't had a chance to do since the honeymoon because I don't wear swimsuits in public. And when we weren't in the water we did a lot of talking.

Am still not completely over the baby gloom but it's at a manageable level now so lately my priority has been trying to get him to forgive me for putting him through hell about it & for saying a lot of things I really shouldn't have said. Have been working on that for a few days now. He really knows how to hold a grudge. It takes a lot of 'dala3'(pampering) & a lot of time to coax him out of his bad moods. Typical Taurus. Doesn't get mad easily but when he does he REALLY gets mad. He hasn't been himself in a while & I was really missing him on top of everything else. I think with this weekend though we've turned the corner. Was actually scared he wouldn't even want to come.

I've got more to say but we just got back & we have to go to a wedding later. Lots of summer weddings this year. Will go & begin the mad rush to get ready in time now.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Other Woman

Have been wondering when I'll blog about her. I knew I would. I mean most people who are anyone in my life have been in here. My husband, my sister, my manager, my friends, my first crush, my ex, my sister-in-law etc....Have been putting her off but she doesn't seem to want to be put off any longer.

My husband & I have a sort of running joke about my secret fear of being dumped for a blonde nurse in a short uniform. I might even have mentioned it here before. Well she's one of them. The blonde nurses in short uniforms I mean. At the clinic where he works they are 4 dentists. And each one of them has a nurse assigned to work with him/her. All said nurses are currently very, very blonde, Eastern European girls. And yes the uniforms are short. And yes my husband is most definitey a legs man. They used to have a Bosnian nurse who wore hijab. She was always in white pants. But she was not 'his nurse'. And anyway she's gone now. Even the receptionist - who they all share - is Eastern European. In her own words 'me they all share'. In a way she's right. She's a receptionist, telephone operator, PR officer & one of the administrative heads thinks she's his private secretary. Poor girl. She always looks sorely harrassed. She's from Romania. But she's not blonde & she really deserves a post of her own because she's quite a good friend of ours actually. So I'll leave her alone for now.

So back to the Other Woman - the Bulgarian nurse in my husband's life. The very first time I ever set eyes on him he'd just walked into the waiting room with her. They'd been in the hospital in surgery apparently. They both looked tired but kind of happy & kind of close. My friend & I thought he was very attractive & we immediately started speculating about what's going on between him & the nurse. They went into his office. We were kept waiting maybe 15 more minutes. Then we got fed up with it. My friend was in a lot of pain. The receptionist was busy on the phone & talking to a lot of people so we just got up & sneaked into his office without waiting to be called in. We saw her helping him put on his white coat. Again that suggestion of intimacy. Do all nurses do that?

Nowadays when I see them come back from surgery together or just at the end of a rough working day I think they look like 2 people who've been up all night having frenzied sex. Maybe because now I know what he looks like when he's been up all night having frenzied sex? Or maybe my mind just gets dirtier as I get older?

Well she still helps him put on his coat & take it off. She also brings him his coffee three times a day & knows exactly how he likes it. At home if I bring him coffee most of the time he'll tell me off for waiting on him, that he can get it on his own. But he doesn't seem to mind her waiting on him.

What else does she do? She gets his desk in order. At home am not allowed to touch his desk or his papers.

And she gets him his reading material. It arrives in the mail & she gets it organized on the shelves in his office. Sometimes on his way out he'll ask her what he needs to read this week. She would know if he needs to look up something for a current case or if there's nothing urgent & he can concentrate on his other research - which is really outside the scope of her job. She tells him which books he needs to read & which DVD's he needs to watch & he brings them home with him etc....

Sometimes when we're trying to make a social engagement he'll pick up the phone & call her to ask her if he's free on a certain date. Once I asked him why he doesn't call our Romanian friend who is after all the receptionist and responsible for appointments. He said that our friend wouldn't remember everyone's appointments if she's not at work with the schedule infront of her but the nurse knows his cases & his appointments. And she does always have the answer for him.

And something else. She has her own car but they always go to the hospital & come back together in his car.

Add to that this hostility that she radiates towards me. She's the only person at the clinic that I haven't managed to win over. And boy have I tried. Sometimes I ask myself why I try so hard with her. It's weird really. I just feel that if me & her can be friends it would introduce some normalcy into the situation. It's strange for me that someone so obviously close to him would be barely speaking to me. I mean she never socializes with us. When we invite his colleagues over or when we go out with them she always has an excuse. She hasn't come over or gone out with us even once so far. And I know that she used to go out with them all the time before I came into the picture.

When I would be hanging around the clinic or the hospital she mainly ignores me. She's never openly rude. Just kind of short & unfriendly.

My friends think I should be very jealous her because of all of the above & because she's a seriously attractive girl who is quite a few years younger than me & who clearly can't stand me. I don't know if am jealous of her. At the risk of sounding overconfident, I think it's the fact that she is so obviously jealous of me that I find unsettling. I know they have a lot in common & I know that he relies on her a lot professionally. But she was there before me. And I think that if he felt more than that for her something would have happened before. And love would not have happened to us as fast or as hard if there was someone else in his life or mine. I don't know why she doesn't scare me more. Maybe she should.

Have I ever discussed it with him? Not seriously. Only as a joke. Am always careful not to say or do anything that might be interpreted as doubt or jealousy because I hate it when he acts jealous or suspicious of me so I try not to do it so that when he does it I can say well I don't give you a hard time over that sort of thing do I?I always trust you don't I? And etc....It's one of the very few means I have of controlling his jealousy or else it might get completely out of hand & I might find myself locked in the house dressed in black from head to toe. Well ok maybe that's an exaggeration but he IS an Arab & certain elements in his character have to be kept in check at all times by any sensible woman.

Last night I went over to the clinic for the first time in a few weeks. When he was done I helped him with that coat for a change. I was straightening his tie when I looked up & she was standing at the door staring at us. And if looks could kill.....I mean she kept on glaring even after she knew I'd seen her! He had his back to the door & when he asked me what's wrong she turned & walked away. I said it was her. And he called her back in & told her what are you doing still here go home get some rest etc....I just avoided looking at her face. That was embarrassing.

So the curse was a tall dark woman but the reality is a short blonde woman. I should check her neck for moles. The curse has got to get something right no?


Monday, June 12, 2006

Great Lessons Marriage Should Have Taught Me

1) The words I-Love-You will often be replaced by the words I-Love-You-But. It's possible to love someone, tell them, have them say it back & believe them but still be unable to communicate. It IS possible. The song was right. Sometimes love just aint enough.

I should not allow this reality to make me feel rejected.

2) If you have great sex that's all it means. That you had great sex. It doesn't mean all your differences have been resolved or that you've been completely forgiven or that your partner has forgotten all your mistakes or is now going to do whatever you wanted them to do that they've been refusing to do.

I should not allow this reality to make me feel used.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Evil Spell

Left work early today. Decided to go for a swim. Don't normally go swimming by myself so this sort of impulse is a sign am still a little off-balance. First thing that happened was that I went into the water without taking off my contacts. When I came up for air I had to think for a second to figure out why everything was suddenly so blurry. Am such a genius aren't I?

Got bored quickly - as expected. Swimming really is a group activity for me. I don't know how my husband can swim on his own so much. So I went & had my shower. It was still early when I finished so I decided to go for a manicure & pedicure. That's the nice thing about the Ladies Club. A beach, a swimming pool, a state-of-the-art gym, a beauty salon & one of the most luxurious spas I've seen in UAE. They even have a little mall. What more could a woman want?

The therapist pissed me off because she was trying to convince me I don't need a manicure & pedicure because my nails are clean & I should try another treatment like a foot massage. If I want a manicure & pedicure then it's my business & nobody else's. And besides why would I pay Dhs.350 for a foot massage when my husband gives the BEST foot massages for free? Ok we're usually on much better terms than we are these days when he's giving me free foot massages but that's completely besides the point right?

So manicure & pedicure it was. And it was while I was enjoying my pedicure that these 2 women came in, covered in black from head to toe. That was unusual. This is Abu Dhabi Ladies Club we're talking about. The only males within a 50 meter radius are the security guards at the gate. You can't bring your cellphone in here incase it has a camera. They actually scan you for electronics when you come in. And they don't allow helicopters to fly overhead. Not sure about other aircraft though. Basically this is the one place in Abu Dhabi where you NEVER see a covered-up woman. With no men around to cover up from why should they bother?

And yet there they were. Everything covered except the eyes. The funny thing is that they were there for manicure & pedicure. So they uncovered half of their legs & half of their arms but kept their face cover on. I started to have visions of a male transvestite invasion of the women's sanctuary. I mean that's the first thing that would come to your mind no? Why would a woman hide her face from other women even while she's having spa treatments? Because 'she' has something to hide. 'She' might very well be a 'he'.

On closer inspection however I had to conclude that at least the woman who was closer to me was infact a woman. She had very pretty & decidedly feminine legs & feet. Hands too. And her voice was definitely a woman's. A little disappointed that I was not infact going to be a participant in any unfolding drama I buried my face back in my magazine for the duration of my treatment.

When I was done one of the therapists went & brought me my watch & my anklete. (You have to leave your jewellery at reception.) The anklete was a weird-looking silver piece that a friend of my Mom's had brought me from Yemen last week. I was putting it back on & the covered lady came up & asked me if it was from Yemen. I said yes. So she told me that she was Yemeni. I nodded politely - in no mood for chitchat by then. After sitting still for that long I want to MOVE.

Then she asked me if I bought it myself, if I had ever been to Yemen. I told her no, it was a present. So she asked if I knew the person who gave it to me very well. And I said yes. At this point I was pretty fed up with all these questions. So I asked her if there was any special reason why she needed to know. She said I shouldn't get upset from her but the person who gave me that piece did not have my best interests at heart. I said excuse me? She said she's from Yemen & she knows these things - that this type of jewellery is used by people who want to put an evil spell on you, they take it & put the spell on it then they give it to you as a present & evil things continue to happen to you as long as you wear it. I started laughing. What else could I do really? Upon which she got really worked up & started going on about how it's true & I can ignore her advice at my own peril etc....Still laughing I told her but you didn't give me any advice to ignore, you told me the problem but not the solution. She said that the only thing I can do is take the ankelete, read some Quranic verses on it & throw it into the sea - apparently seawater is the only thing that washes off evil spells. Then she sat down to write the relevant Quranic verses on a piece of paper for me. At that point I was too curious & was enjoying the comedy to much to go anywhere so I waited for her to finish then took the paper & stuffed it in my bag. I asked her tayeb what kind of evil spell is it, what is going to happen to me? She said you're married right? I said yes. She asked if the ankelete was given to me by an older woman. I said yes again. She asked if this older woman had daughters. I said yes. She asked if the daughters were married. I said no. And she opened her eyes wide & screeched at me you see? I was expecting her to start jumping up & down & screaming Eureka any second! It was so funny to watch her. I was practically ROTFL!

She went on saying the woman hates you because you're married & her daughters are spinsters so she put a spell on you. That was too hilarious really. I kept snickering & she kept saying you must heed the warning & you shouldn't trust anyone, everyone is plotting against you because you're married & their daughters aren't etc.....When I stopped laughing & caught my breath I asked her bas you still didn't tell me what is going to happen to me. She said I know you're thinking what is this crazy woman but tell me haven't you been fighting with your husband since you started wearing it? That made me stop laughing. I told her did you have to remind me? I was enjoying myself here.

She said believe me this anklete is going to 'tikhrib baitik'(destroy your marriage) if you don't dispose of it. That was too much. And the way she was speaking, it was so EARNEST so I was in hysterics again. She got offended though & told me that she had done her duty to Allah by warning me & that if I refuse to listen it's not her fault etc....Then she told me that my husband 'qalbu inshagal' (his heart is becoming occupied) with a tall dark woman (samra taweela) who had a mole on her neck because of our fights, that I have to break the evil spell before he leaves me for this woman . Am SERIOUS! She said that! Am going to walk around scrutinizing women's necks from now on! I asked her is the mole on the front of the woman's neck or on the back? She shook her head reproachfully & told me Allah yihdeeki(may Allah guide you) & walked off. And I thought Allah yideeni ana(may Allah guide ME)?

As soon as I got into the car I called my husband still giggling & told him I found the answer to all our problems & we're going to be the happiest couple in the world. Then I told him the whole story. It made him laugh too. He said 'Konti t2oolilha ana goozi khalas it3a2ad min elsitat'(You should have told her that your husband has developed a complex & is now scared of women). But he was teasing.

To think that this clearly deranged woman actually helped break the ice between me & him! I mean am not out of the woods yet. I still have to see what his mood will be like when he comes home tonight. Yesterday I thought things were better after the sms conversation but he was still a bit uptight & withdrawn last night. It's hard to tell with him.

But it was nice to hear him laugh on the phone. And I didn't even throw my anklete in the sea like she said!


Saturday, June 10, 2006


Me : Everytime you get mad at me I think you don't love me anymore.
Him : Really?
Me : Yes. You make me feel I screwed things up with you so bad you can't stand me anymore.
Him : That's interesting.
Me : Am glad am not boring you.
Him : Did I ever say I don't love you?
Me : Well not in so many words but you act as if you can't stand to hear my voice.
Him : So let me see if I get this straight: you can tell me you hate me & that's supposed to make me feel loved. Bilmoqabil ba2a inti(On the other hand) you have a right to feel I don't love you kida min wa7i ilhamik(based on your imagination) & that's my problem?
Me : You know I don't mean it when I say things like that. I was just upset.
Him : You see? That's why I don't like to talk to you when I'm angry. I don't like to say things I don't mean. You don't care what you say.
Me : I'm sorry I said I hate you. I do not hate you. I love you.
Him : You love me as long as you get what you want when you want. Otherwise you hate me.
Me : I don't have an answer for that.
Him : Kol da 3ashan ba2oolik mish 3ayez khilfa dilwa2ti? Omal ba2a law 7asal ini tli3t mish bakhalif aslan konti hati3mili ma3aya eh? Tirfa3i adyit khol3? (All this because I told you I don't want to have kids now? What if I was sterile? What would you do then? Divorce me?)
Me : If you were sterile I wouldn't have had a miscarriage. And I wouldn't be so messed up now.
Him : That was in February. This is June. How long am I going to be punished for it?
Me : So the last 3 months were all punishment?Ma shoft feehum wala yom 7ilw?(You didn't have a single good day with me?)
Him : And your point is?
Me : I have ups & downs. I can't help it. And when I'm down I need you more.
Him : When you're down you push everyone away. No one can help you if you won't let them.
Me : I don't mean to push you away.
Him : You want to stay here without me.
Me : I'm sorry about that too.
Him : So that's not what you want anymore?
Me : No.
Him : Fine. Do you know what you want?

Good question. What DO I want now?

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Him: Inti fein?
Me : Bara
Him: Mana 3arif inik bara. Bara fein ya3ni?
Me : Just driving around
Him: Do you know what time it is?
Me : Well it was 2 when I left home & you weren't home yet so I don't think you should be talking.
Him: It's 3:00 in the morning. Who are you with?
Me : Who would I be with now? Everyone's asleep.
Him: You're out on the streets on your own at 3:00 in the morning?
Me : Yes I already said that.
Him: And that strikes you as rational behavior?
Me : Are you really interested in how anything strikes me these days?
Him: Now that you mention it no actually I'm not. Inti fein? I'll come & get you.
Me : Thank you. I went out on my own & I can come back on my own.
Him: Tayeb ya Loulou. Lama t7issi inik 3ayza trawa7i tib2i trawa7i. Ana dakhil anam.
Me : Tisba7 3ala khair
Him: Mutashakir

Silence. He always waits for me to hang up. What a gentleman.

Him: Mumkin ti2fili?
Me : Am not done talking to you so I have no plans to hang up. If you're done you hang up.
Him: 7adir. Itfadali. Am listening.

Of course then no one says anything for like 10 minutes. I really didn't feel like going home last night. But I had nowhere else to go. I mean my parents are in Morocco. And I can't really go knocking on anyone else's door at 3:00 in the morning. Maybe tonight I'll get a hotel room or something.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sometimes I want a baby so bad I feel I will die of it. It's the worst kind of craving. Crippling. I don't know what else to call it. When I tell him he tells me to sleep on it or give it a few days. And that will usually make it go away. Like waking up from a dream.

Of course all this is new. The prospect of motherhood used to terrify me. I always liked kids in a detached sort of way. The idea of me with kids was just not real. Having kids was something that other people did while I cheered them on & bought them gifts & spoilt their babies. I couldn't see myself as the heroine of such a piece - only as a spectator.

When we got married my husband & I agreed to talk about kids in 2 years time. As is his habit he had a plan. And as is my habit I had none.

Just before the wedding he'd renewed his contract in UAE for 2 years. But I knew that he'd never been happy here. He still isn't. My husband hates it here. So his plan was that in 2 years time we'd move to Sweden. And start a family there. I'd need time to learn Swedish & restart my career I could stay home with the baby while I do that.

I remember feeling daunted by all that. Huge changes. A new country, a new language, a new career & motherhood. It was all too much to take in. I said that & he said it's ok I'd have 2 years to prepare thereby giving me an excuse to procrastinate & avoid making an immediate decision on any of those points. Me my personal motto has always been never decide today what you can decide tomorrow & never decide tomorrow what you can avoid deciding altogether. Besides at that time I was in the middle of pre-wedding hysteria & I wasn't convinced that there was life after the wedding day.

All I remember saying was that we shouldn't set anything in stone, that we should wait 2 years & then talk about all those things, babies included, that we don't know how we'll feel in 2 years time or where things will stand etc... He didn't see that for it was. A cop-out. I think he took it as agreement at least in principle.

So what changed? Mainly I had a miscarriage. And so now am getting these attacks of maternal longing with increasing frequency. And I get another type of attack. Panic attacks. Fear of miscarrying again. Fear of never becoming a mother.

So here we clash - me & him. He thought we had a plan & my husband is not the kind of person who enjoys having his plans overset without a good reason. And he feels very strongly against having a child here, that it will somehow tie him to this place that he really dislikes because moving with children born outside Sweden from a marriage that took place outside Sweden will apparently mean more complicated paperwork & we might somehow end up having to stay here longer than he can stand. Added to which he also feels that it's too early, we just got married, we're both busy & what little free time we have we should focus on each other etc.....

Basically his mind up is made up & while I can't seem to win the argument & dispute his reasoning I also can't seem to help the way I feel. Yes I didn't always feel the way I feel now & yes at one time I might have seemed to go along with something different. And no I shouldn't need a team of legal experts & cast-iron arguments to make my own husband understand that losing our baby might have changed my priorities.

Tonight he said - among other things - that I was on the rebound, that I was starting to develop an unhealthy obssessive attitude to this motherhood issue & that I should stop seeing the miscarriage as some sort of failed project that I need to make up for with a new project. I HATE it when he does that, when he takes it upon himself to tell me what I think & feel especially when he sounds so cold & unpleasant about it. And we had a fight. If one can call it that.

He made what I considered to be insensitive comments about something I happen to be feeling particularly sensitive about. I lost my temper & started yelling. He tried to get me to calm down. He failed so he lost his temper & slammed out of the house. I started calling frantically. He didn't pick up. I messaged that I get worried when he does that. He called to tell me I don't need to worry about him because he's an adult & that he's actually worried about me in a tone of voice that implied am not an adult.

Now it's almost 1:00 am & he's still out. We've been through this before. He'll come back & say it's late & we need to get some rest. Then he'll go to sleep & I'll be up all night fuming. Tonight he's made me so angry that am actually considering going ahead & getting pregnant whether he likes it or not. It's not like I need his permission. If this is what I get when I try to talk to him then maybe I shouldn't bother. Maybe I should just do what I want.

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She loves to be rocked to sleep. I would rock her & rock her but then my arms would get tired. So for her sake I went out & bought a rocking chair - complete with a footstand. So we can rock together as long as she wants. Sometimes I fall asleep too.

Yesterday she found her way to the rocking chair on her own, half-crawling, half-walking all the way from the bedroom to the living room. I was in the kitchen getting her food ready & I heard her crying. I went running to the living room & there she was standing holding on to the chair looking at me with tears all over her little face. Come & rock me to sleep, she seemed to be saying.

She was out like a light in a few minutes. She didn't even eat. I just sat there watching her sleep in my arms. And I started crying. I felt sad that she went to sleep so soon. Now by the time she's up her mother will be here to get her. I felt robbed of my time with her. But she looked so peaceful I didn't have the heart to wake her.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

White Hair

Got up late for work this morning. So I was rushing around all over the place. When I came out of the bathroom, my husband was in bed reading the newspaper. I said oh you're up. He said who can get any sleep with a tornado in the same room. Then he asked if I was done with the bathroom. Told him to go ahead. I could blowdry my hair just as well in the bedroom.

When he came out of the bathroom I was still standing infront of the wardrobe trying to find something to wear. He asked if I wanted coffee. I said no I didn't have time.

It took me more than 20 minutes to decide on a suit for work. By that time he was back in bed with his newspaper. So there I was standing infront of the mirror blowdrying my hair & I caught sight of the back of his head in the mirror. And I noticed that he was starting to get some white hair. Nothing much. Just a few white hairs sprinkled here & there in the middle of all that black hair. For some weird reason that was a HUGE turn-on. I literally went weak. Don't ask me why. Have long since given up trying to make any sense of the intricate workings of my own libido.

Of course he noticed the sudden stillness. And turned to see what I was doing. So I kissed him. Don't know. Just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. In the next instant I was in his lap on top of the newspaper making out. He stopped to ask what got into me. So I told him. And he said ok did I want to be late for work & see what else he could do to turn me on? Did I WANT to?Boy did I want to! But I couldn't damn it. So in an effort to change the mood I asked him why he was saying that didn't he think my career was important? Apparently he was in no mood to get into a discussion about the relative importance of our careers he ignored that for a few more minutes. Then he told me to get up & get out before he changed his mind. I wanted to say but I want you to change your mind!

Didn't though. I got up & was straightening out my hair & trying to locate my bag & my car keys when he said don't forget your jacket. Oh yeah. I actually couldn't remember at what point in the proceedings my jacket came off. But replaying recent events to pinpoint exactly when & how was not really in anyone's best interests right about then. Not if I was to have a snowball's chance in hell of getting to the office before my manager.

So I put it back on & said goodbye on my way out. No response. He was back behind that newspaper. I said why won't you look at me. He said imshi itla3i bara(get out of here) - still without looking. So I did. To discover on the way down that high heels & weak knees don't go very well together.

The mirror in the lift on the way down told me that I had newspaper ink all over the back of my white jacket not to mention that it was crumpled. Perfect. Way too late to do anything about it though. Besides I didn't trust myself to go back up there & come back down.

The drive to work. I haven't seen the actual statistics but I would guess that sexual frustration is probably not a great contributing factor to road safety.

Conversation with a traffic police car that suddenly materialized next to me in the carpark infront of my office.

Traffic cop: Salamu 3laikum (Islamic greeting)
Me: Wa3alaikum elsalam (Returning said greeting)
Traffic cop: 3assa ma shar? (I hope nothing is wrong)
Me: Khair inshallah? (God willing everything is fine)
Traffic cop: Ish fi? (What is going on?)
Me(taking off my sunglasses to fix him with wide innocent eyes): Ish fi? (Repeating his question)
Traffic cop: Misir3a wu safa ghalat wu ma t3arfeen ish fi? (You're speeding & you're parked incorrectly & you don't know what's going on?)
Me: Tayeb shasawi ya3ni ma-shi parking (What can I do there's no parking)
Traffic cop: Wilsur3a? Tsoogeen birally allah yihadeech? (And the speed? Do you think this is a rally & a prayer to Allah to guide me)
Me: Ta'akhart 3ala dawami (Am late for work)
Traffic cop: Allah yihadach bas. Ya bint el7alal salamtich wu salamat ghairich wayid aham min eldawam (He's asking Allah to guide me again & adding that my safety & the safety of other people is much more important than work)
Me: Ana asfa (Am sorry)
Traffic cop: 3ateena el-lesan wilmilkiya allah yikhaleech (License & registration please)

Terrific. A ticket. Another one. But he was a nice guy. He let me get away with parking where am not supposed to. He said I didn't have to move. He was still writing out my ticket when my manager called & asked where I was. Told him I was in the middle of getting a ticket because in my mad dedication to getting to work on time I had become a public menace. Was hoping that would soften him up. No such luck. He told me that he'd sent some people to my office who'd been waiting for the last 30 min to have the benefit of my expertise if it wasn't disrupting my social life too much. Never mind that I was only late for 10 min & he had no business sending people to see me before work hours anyway.

And disrupting my social life? The jerk.

The meeting went on & on. Almost 3 hrs. When it was done I had a horrible, splitting headache. That's something else that sexual frustration does. With me a headache doesn't mean am not in the mood. Quite the contrary. It means am feeling deprived. I ordered Turkish coffee no sugar & took 2 Panadols. A bit later I decided I needed a cigarette. Opened the drawer to check my secret stash. Was kind of proud of myself. The packet had only 3 gone. And it's been there since I got back to work after the miscarriage. I thought I deserved two.

Long, long day. Still 30 minutes to go. About an hour ago D. called. She was mad at her bf(my uncle) & she was ranting on & on about what foul creatures men were & how much they controlled our lives. Just what I needed. Feminism always gets me out of the mood - which is good right?

Men who controlled my life today:

1) My husband
2) My manager
3) The traffic cop