Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Him: Why do you lie so much?
Me : I do?
Him: You do.
Me : If that's what you really believe, you don't seem too upset about it.

He was silent for a moment - thinking about it.

Him: I guess not.
Me : Why not?
Him: Ma trodish 3ala so'ali bso'al. (Don't answer my question with a question.)
Me : Come on. Tell me.
Him: You tell me first.
Me : 7abibi please don't be mean. Pretty please? For my sake?
Him: Will you answer my question?
Me : I will. But you go first.
Him: Ok. Why doesn't it upset me that you lie to me? Hmm...I guess because most of the time I can see through it. You're a bad liar. That's kind of cute.
Me: Cute??!!!

And so on & so forth.

Ok so now I have to answer his question. I said I'd give him an answer tonight.

Why do I lie to him? It IS mostly him that I lie to these days. Infact I've thought & thought and I can't think of a single recent example of me actually telling anyone else a falsehood. The simple fact is with other people, there is little occasion for lying. I don't have to lie.

The people I've lied to most in my life are my parents & now my husband. There is less contact with my parents now so he's the current number one.

So when I lie, it's to the people I love most in the world.

With my husband, my memories of the lies I've told are not even that unpleasant. I don't remember them with great agnoies of guilt or anything like that. Infact, a lot of them make me smile now.

What does that say about me?

The earliest falsehood I remember with my husband was when I once tried to fake it in bed with him. Now he tends to be a little more adventurous than me. He always wants to try out something new. Usually I'm fine with it but once in while, something will just not work for me. Being a woman of strong feelings, if something doesn't work for me am not usually bored or apathetic about it. I flat out hate it. Never-want-to-do-it-or-hear-about-it-again kind of hate.

The first time that happened, I didn't know what to do. I had heard a lot about how fragile the sexual egos of men are, how if a woman tells them she didn't enjoy it, they are crushed and left feeling useless, less-than-men etc....For obvious reasons, I didn't want that to happen to him.

So the first reflex was to try to fake it. I gave it my best shot.

Suddenly he stops. I open my eyes to find him staring at my face for a moment. Then he bursts out laughing. It was the only time I ever saw him literally laugh til he cried.

He'd stop laughing & calm down for a minute then he'd splutter: Oh my God! The look on your face! What were you DOING?

And then he'd be off again. I thought he was going to die laughing that way.

I never tried the faking thing again. It was insane to think for a second that anything could possibly even puncture that gigantic ego of his.

I might also lie if:

1) I'm asked a question to which a truthful answer will make me look too hung up on him. Because I think it makes me look pathetic. I always thought it was pathetic when a woman was too hung up on her man.

Also, I know it tends to scare men off. The clinging vine thing, I mean.

It's just uncool so of course I try to make him think it's less than it actually is.

2) I'm jealous. I would never admit that. Never. So I invent other things to explain my jealousy-related mood swings.

3) I want him to like a close friend or relative better. I'll tell lies to both sides actually to make the people I love get along with each other.

4) I think it will make him like it here a little better. I love UAE. I would like to stay here a lot longer than he would. So I might embellish the truth a bit where I think it will improve his opinion of life here.

5) My maternal hormones are working overtime. I still get occasionally depressed about that. But I never admit it anymore. I just make up something if he asks me the reason why I'm down. Like a work problem or missing my parents.

I mean, what would be the point of discussing it with him? We tried to discuss it so many times & it never got us anywhere I want to be again. We've reached a point on this issue where I think there's nothing he can possibly say or do about it that wouldn't hurt me and hurt me a lot. Except maybe get me pregnant, like, yesterday. At times, I get so desperate about it that even the nine-months pregnancy period seems too long to wait before I can have a baby to look at & touch & love.

So enough really. Why bother talking anymore? I'd have to be a glutton for punishment.

So what answer shall I give him? The truth? Interesting contradiction no? Telling someone the truth about why you don't tell them truth?


Monday, May 21, 2007


He comes home from work. I put my arms around his neck & we kiss. I get so carried away I don't notice that he's still standing at the door, holding his briefcase in one hand & the newspapers in the other hand. And that this can't be comfortable for him.

I don't notice any of that until we come up for air & he mildly asks if he can come in. I am instantly embarrassed. I feel clumsy, desperate etc....

I apologize, let him in & close the door. He goes into the bedroom to shower & change. I go into the kitchen to fix dinner.

As I take out the 6 pieces of steak I'd seasoned, marinaded & wrapped in foil overnight, we carry on a conversation about his day & my day, the AC filter needing cleaning, how hard it is to find parking etc.....People who accuse us of whispering at each other should come & watch us trying to hold these shouted conversations all the way across the apartment, over the noise of the shower in his case and all the clutter in the kitchen in mine.

I am trying to make up for the way I jumped him at the door by keeping a distance, to give him space. I mean the guy just came back from what looks like a long & gruelling day at work. Probably wanting nothing more in life than a shower & his dinner. What was I thinking?

He finishes his shower & comes into the kitchen in his boxers and like everyday offers to help me. Like everyday, I say no. So he just stands around talking to me.

I keep my eyes on the salad dressing, counting out the ingredients in my head as I add them to the mix. Kind of like counting sheep to fall asleep. Except in this case, I am keeping myself from looking at him or I'd never be able to maintain any distance.

The steaks are cooking on the grill behind me. I should check on them, turn them over. But he's behind me & I don't want to turn.

He asks me if we have any of last night's pasta sauce left over. We do. I take it out of the fridge and stick it in the microwave. I find a pot to boil some penne.

It doesn't bother me that he wants leftovers when I'm cooking fresh food. I know his appetite can handle it. He will eat everything.

He finally moves out of the kitchen to take a phone call & I get a chance to flip those steaks over. Luckily, they're not overcooked. I hate that.

He finishes his phone call & goes into the living room to watch TV. I don't see him again until the table is set and we sit down to eat.

We eat in silence. He has 4 pieces of steak plus the pasta & sauce. Doesn't touch the salad. I have 2 pieces of steak - they turned out better than I expected, considering - & all the salad.

I ask him if he feels like dessert. He says no. Me neither. Too full. So while he does the dishes & cleans up, I brew some coffee & fill up a thermos. We both tend to drink a lot of coffee.

I decide to have my own shower first though. When I come out, he's flopped on the couch infront of the TV, drinking coffee. I pour myself some coffee, debate joining him & decide that would be inconsistent with my new cool, hard-to-get demeanour so I go to bed with my laptop.

Eventually, he calls out, asks what I'm doing. I tell him I'm online. He says can you come here a minute please, that he's getting a sore throat. I want to ask why should I? Why doesn't HE come here? But no, the key word is cool not childish.

So I go over & stand infront of him. He says o23odi (sit). I sit, feeling about 6 years old. Or alternately, like an obedient puppy.

So now he wants to know what my problem is. He says the reception was great but then the temperature started dropping rapidly, that it was now below arctic and that he doesn't get it. He wants to know what he's done now.

What do I tell him? It's not you, it's me? Cliche time?

I don't. I apologize, plead a headache. He's instantly all concern. He knows that my headaches sometimes develop into these horrific migraines. And so I am left feeling guilty for worrying him.

So what do I do? I tell him the headache was much better & then I overcompensate for my earlier crankiness.

Now I am embarrassed about being all over him last night & this morning.

Sigh. Story of my life, no use fighting etc....I give up.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007


This morning at work I get an SMS from my husband - informing me that a relative of his will be contacting me on business. What business? Which relative? Where? Here or overseas?

I tried to call my husband for further clarification but he couldn't be reached. Oh well, I thought. I'd find out soon enough.

Just after lunch, I receive the call.

Him: Asalamu 3laikum.

Me : 3laikum alsalam.

Him: K howa illy 2ali akalimik(K told me to call you). Inti meen ba2a?(So who are you?)

Now how do I introduce myself to a relative of my husband who might also be a business contact? Name, job title, company? Or just hi I'm LouLou K's wife?

I decided to keep things formal. So I did the business introduction thing. Nothing about marriage.

Him: Ahlan beeki yafandim. (Nice to meet you)

Me : Ya hala. (Same here.)

Him: Ma3laish momkin a3raf bas howa 7adritik wi K konto zomala feen bilzabt? (Can I ask where you and K used to work together?)

Which is a polite way of asking how I know K. So K didn't tell him.

Me : Abadan (No). Mafi zamala (We never worked together). Wala 7ata nafs elmajal(We're in very different fields).

I know it was cruel. I should have put the poor guy out of his misery. He was clearly dying to know how K knows me. But I guess my husband and I share the same twisted sense of humor.

There was a short silence.

Him: Mafish moshkila (Ok no problem). 3al3omoom nitkalim shwya filshogl?(Shall we talk business?)

Me : Itfadal. (Be my guest.)

So he explains that he basically just arrived in town to take over management of a small but growing business with offices in Jebel Ali and they are now looking for a reputable IT partner with substantial local experience and representation blah blah blah etc....It seemed like a good business opportunity actually.

In response, I launched into my sales pitch - explaining how wonderful we are and what magic we do etc....

He seemed impressed. Then indicated that I should be discussing the details with their IT Division Head and that he would have the guy contact me. In an effort to show just how good our service is, I offered to call the guy myself if he would give me the contacts.

So he gives me a name and a couple of phone numbers.

Me: Ok, I will call asap. And I may tell Mr.F that I was referred by you?

Him: Ah kalimeeh maho a23id odami aho(Yeah call him now he's sitting infront of me). 3ayiz asma3 elmokalma(I want to listen in).

Which nearly cracked me up but I held on to the serious business demeanour. I call the guy. We have a brief discussion during which we set up a meeting next Sunday in Jebel Ali.

We hang up. I try to reach my husband again. No luck.

About an hour later, the first guy calls me back:

Him: Ana asif gidan ya madam(I'm very sorry). Ma kontish a3raf wallahi in i7na 2arayib(I didn't realize that we are family).

Me : La 7asal khair.(It's ok no problem.)

Him: Bas ama ashoofo. (Just wait until I see him(K).)

Me : Ma3laish howa sa3at yinsa lama yikoon mashgool.(Please excuse him. Sometimes he forgets. Especially when he's very busy.)

Him: Yinsa eh? Yinsa ino mitgawiz? (He forgets what?That he is married?)

Me(laughing) : Ya3ni.(Sort of)

Him: 3omooman alf mabrook(Anyway congrats). Ana 3ala fikra ab2a ibn 3amo(I am his cousin). I7na itkalimna mara zaman filtelephone.(We spoke on the phone once - quite a while back.)

Me : Sa7i7 fi3lan(Yes I remember). (Even though I didn't have a clue. Before and just after the wedding, we received telephone congratulations from dozens of his relatives. People I'd never seen before or since. How could I possibly remember or tell them apart?)

Him(continuing): Bas lazim ba2a neegi nzorkom 3ashan nibarik wi nit3araf 3laiki waghan liwagh.(He's saying that he should come visit us to congratulate us properly and get to know me in person.)

I replied with the usual we'd-be-honored, anytime and our-humble-abode-will-be-illuminated-by-your-presence etc....Arabic expressions of welcome.

Then I remembered to ask him something.

Me: Ma3laish bas elakh F.(the IT Manager guy he'd made me speak to) illy kalamni ma 7adid li makan elmaktab fain fi Jebel Ali.(Sorry but the guy I spoke with didn't tell me where to find your offices in Jebel Ali.)

Him: goozik 3arif. (Your husband knows)

Me (laughing): 7adir basa'alo. (Ok I'll ask him.)

Him: Winti 3ayza ti3rafi leh? (Why do you want to know?)

Me: 3ashan elmeeting yom ela7ad ISA.(Because of the meeting on Sunday.)

Him: Meeting eh?(What meeting?) Howa bas 3ashan ma yi3rafsh in inti 2aribti. (My colleague just didn't know that we are related). Wana yikhalasni bardo in inti tit3abi wi teegi hina min Abu Dhabi?(Do you think I would put you to the trouble of travelling from Jebel Ali to Abu Dhabi?) Elmeeting ISA yib2a 3andokom filmaktab (The meeting will be in your offices). Wi kol meeting ba3d kida(And every meeting after that). Law ay 7ad 2alik 7aga ghair kida, kalimini.(If anyone tells you different, just call me.)

Great. I know he was trying to be nice but this is not really a workable arrangement - telling his staff that they should never ask me to visit. There are things I will need to see on site.

But you have to give the guy credit for nerve. You're related to me so of course you get special treatment even if we ARE in a business situation. No ifs and no buts. In your face.But before I realized you were related to me I could have cared less if you had to do the Abu Dhabi-Dubai both ways 3 times a day.

What can I say? Arabs!

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Better and Better

Another one of those days - punctuated by an unpleasant scene with the finance guy in the previous post brought by the fact that I refused to sign off on his payment on the grounds that he didn't do the work. He said he would, but only if we pay for him to stay another week. Which I can't. No budget. It's not my fault he wasted the the all-expenses-paid two weeks he spent out here doing nothing. If he needs to stay here any longer to get the job done, he can damn well do so at his own expense.

Then I called Mama - as I do everyday - to de-stress, I hoped. Little did I know another fight was in the works. 90 minutes on the phone. Long-distance. First she freaked at me because when she wanted to know when we (as in me and K) were coming in the summer, I had to tell her we weren't. We've arranged to spend what remains of our annual leave in Sweden this year. Given the fact that Sweden is supposed to be my future permanent home, I think it's about time I got my first glimpse of it.

She said that if I felt more at home with his family now than with them etc.....Huh? Then she took it a step further and said that his family come and visit us much more than my family etc....and the whole thing turned into this convoluted argument about whether or not I love my in-laws more than my parents!

I was incredulous. It wasn't like my mother to be so irrational. At one point, I took a time-out and decided to dig deeper to find out what was really bothering her. Then it came out. One of her patients was found dead at his house last week. Because he lived alone - all of his children being abroad and his wife having passed away a few years before - he wasn't discovered until 4 days after death.

The incident clearly upset her profoundly. My mother did always get a bit too emotionally involved with her patients. But these days cases that involve older people and faraway children seem to really, really hit her on a personal level.

I felt it would be stupid to complain about my own work problem because it suddenly seemed trivial next to HER work problem. At least none of my work problems involve any loss of life. Instead, I spent the whole time trying to calm her down and make her laugh. I spoke to my Dad & ordered him to take her away some place this weekend to cheer her up. He said he'd be happy to if she wasn't working.

I was surprised. I hadn't realized that she still works crazy hours and weekends. My mother really is a workaholic. She really needs to take it easier at her age.

But in conclusion, she let go of the issue of our coming summer holiday.

Except just now, I was talking to my husband on the phone and when I told him that Mama wanted us to go to Casa this summer, he didn't let me finish. He said great. We could spend one week there and one week in Egypt - where his parents will be spending their holiday in Alex.

I have 23 days of leave and he has 21. Now 14 weeks are spoken for. So that leaves about a week to spend in Sweden.

I had been looking forward to a long, relaxing holiday spent getting used to the country and the house we're planning to live in. Not a holiday spent jumping on a plane every few days.

Oh well.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Not Having A Good Week

I am a lousy manager. Put me in charge of other people's work and 9 times out of 10, what will happen is that they will either not do the job or do it very badly. In both cases, I'll get stuck doing it in their stead.

I've been given 3 shots at management so far with 3 different teams. And every single time, at least one member of staff has done this to me. If I'm not stuck writing the press releases the PR guy didn't get to, then I'm wasting an entire week of work digging through Excel worksheet after Excel worksheet in an effort to make sense of the so-called cost analysis and revenue projections prepared by the so-called financial analyst who just happened to omit to define his freaking variables, assumptions and just about anything else that would have made this stuff in the least bit comprehensive to human beings. The stuff I did manage to figure out was so full of mistakes, in the end I decided not to bother and just re-did the whole thing.

The worst part is when you're doing something that is outside your field, it takes you FOREVER. The work it would have taken him a day to do if he'd ever bothered to put in the effort or the hours, took me a whole week. And even then, I doubt that it's as good as what he could have come up with. I've had to 'dumb down' a lot of the analysis simply because I don't understand the financial issues involved and I don't have time to research them. This is not the in-depth analysis people hire consultants to do and I'm sure this client will say so.

I don't have the budget to pay for someone else's time to do it properly. So what to do? Send it to Ernst and Younge at my own expense? Leave everything else and spend all my time on it?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Who would have thought that getting along with each other's friends would be such a challenge?

His friends alternately bore, irritate or downright terrify me.

Then I started to notice that he and M - one of my two closest lifelong girlfriends and little LouLou's Mom - have been clashing a lot. They both try to be subtle about it - for my sake I guess - but there is tension. They clearly get on each other's nerves.

And now the icing on the cake, he's decided he doesn't want my male friends casually dropping in uninvited. He thinks I should meet them outside - unless we're having a party or something and we invite them.

It's not like I have single guys dropping by to see me all the time. Arab guys know not to do that with a married woman. But occasionally a group of friends which may include guys will drop by because they're in the area or something. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Kick all the guys out? Tell them they can't come to my house without an engraved invitation?

I'm trying to be reasonable here but really, what is his problem? I mean, I hate his friends but I don't notice myself banning them from the house. Is the concept of reciprocation utterly foreign to him or what?

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