stay calm momma....

麻烦 máfan - troublesome; inconvenient
This word is the perfect description to many of life's challenges, especially when living overseas - and being baffled by the absurdities (nicer word would be differences) that can surround us. Here is one such example:

Thursday morning we awoke to no electricity. No big deal - its actually is a bit refreshing (we get to be more creative, right?). Justin left for class, while Ali gets the girls ready for the day (breakfast, etc). Loud, incessant pounding on door frightens everyone. Ali answers the door and is greeted by loud man dressed in camouflage gear? In slurred Chinese - he says he is here to fix the ceiling! (Ali is grateful & amazed - we have been asking him to come for 2 weeks now!). He comes in the house (leaves shoes on, tracking in grime) to inspect the job. Nine large kitchen & bathroom tiles have fallen, over the course of a few months, since the job wasn't done well the first time. He grunts & sighs & makes lots of disgusted noises, then says he needs to buy supplies. Ali hurriedly gets the girls in shoes & jackets, so they can walk to the Hardware Shop to buy supplies with Mr. Fix-it-man. She knows better than to trust him with the cash. :)

After returning home, Fix-it-man begins to prep the tiles and Ali clears out the bathroom for him to work. He does not have a tarp, so I grab some of my own material to shield the washer & toilet from his work. I know these guys can be messy. At the same time, Ali occupies three curious munchkins - as he works. Toxic glue fumes begin to waft from the bathroom, so Ali opens windows to create some draft (remember, no electricity=no heat) and put jackets on the kiddos. After 1-2 hours, I peek in the bathroom to observe this mans workmanship - only to retreat in absolute terror, as my entire bathroom has been attacked by "Flinging-Glue-Man" and is completely trashed. Yes, the tiles are almost back in place - but not without creating thee biggest disaster within. I do not have words to explain the frustration in my heart (nor good picts!).

Justin returned home from class at this point, before I had a chance to speak to Mr. Fix-it-man. Justin was even more upset than I was, which (if you know Justin) is an uncommon occurrence. I could go on to detail a similar mess made across the entire tile floor, the kitchen & counters, and ruining one of our chairs (used as a ladder). It took us about 4 hours to scrub the glue & black caulking OFF the floor with steel wool. The chair is caked in glue, and we still have to scrub the walls & ceiling, since he left marks all over the place! ...I am sure this will be an ongoing cleaning project. We were both so amazed at the complete disregard for someone's home, and the mess that was left for us to clean, as well as the lack of quality to which tasks are done. Things fall apart here more often than you'd imagine!!

After he left, Asia went to school, E&S took naps, and we scrubbed the floor with steel wool, while using flashlights to locate toxic glue droplets (still no electricity), so my baby can crawl on the floor. To lift our spirits, we went out for dinner. I think next time we need ANY repairs, we will attempt to do them ourselves! ....or have Paul Sampson fly out here. Hmmm....I really miss that guy.

p.s. We have recovered from all the máfan of Thursday, and know that this venting rampage does not fully reflect our overall gratefulness & perspective on life. We are healthy and full of joy. What's a little toxic glue anyhow?