Monthly Archives: December 2009

a hole in the internet

Jagenau has one. Apparently cel phone reception is also not good, just in this village. My brother-in-law has very splendidly loaned us his laptop for the duration of our stay; it picks up the signal from his router, if we are in the kitchen, but the signal doesn’t reach all the way to our bedroom, directly beneath the kitchen. Also the signal is not very reliable. So I check Facebook and email in the kitchen, but blogging is risky – also difficult to concentrate when you’re in as busy a place as a kitchen.

So now that I have this brief bit of time, what do I want to say? The trip down was horrible. Oma and Opa are as warm and affectionate (and discipline-averse) as ever, seeing people has been fab, and Barcelona probably doesn’t seem like paradise in December to the locals, but to us, fleeing drippy-cold Bavaria, it was heavenly. Returning to drippy-cold Bavaria was less heavenly, since I brought some kind of stomach virus back with me. Fortunately (!) the worst of it happened in the Barcelona airport, so I didn’t have to spend the whole flight in the airplane bathroom – I hear that such things are frowned-upon, nowadays – but I am fighting deep fatigue.

I think we are planning to drive back up to Utrecht on New Year’s Day. To beat the traffic, hopefully to beat the weather, and also to do all the work we’d both planned to get done over the holidays, before we found out about the hole in the internet.

Song du jour of the day: New Year’s Day, by U2.

travel stress

Wow, Christmas is stressful, something I mention pretty much every year on this blog. Packing for a trip is also stressful. Packing for a Christmas trip is turning out to be crazy-making, particularly since the trip to Barcelona is contained within this trip to Jagenau, to visit the in-laws, who only speak one language, a language I am fast forgetting. Also Jagenau is a frozen hell right now, Barcelona is not, and (1 husband + 2 children) x (however many in-laws I have + 2 godfathers) = no way have I managed to come up with presents from everyone for everyone. I think my brain is melting.

I don’t think we’ll have internet access on this trip. You guys have NO. IDEA. how much I will miss you.

Guitar, by Peter Nalitch


So our friend Nigel came to visit from England for a week, which was fab, he gets along with everybody in the family (not something you can say about most of our friends) and we don’t get to see him nearly enough. And he came straight from working like a dog in London, so he was happy to sleep late and go for long walks alone, and was thus a very low-maintenance guest, but I already don’t have enough hours in my day, so even less of my homework and job got done while he was here. Which means it piled up. And now I’m squished under this pile of stuff I should have done last week, with the stuff I need to do this week sitting on top of it, and I don’t know where to start, but I sure as hell shouldn’t start with blogging. That’s not starting, that’s stalling.

It was really nice to see Nigel again, though.

Song du jour of the day: Que Bonita Luna, by Juan Luis Guerra, Ruben Blades & Robi Draco. h/t Tacki.

Sniglet’s progress report

So yes, I talked to the Sniglet’s teacher on Thursday; it was the “first report” and the little booklet has spaces for four reports, so I conclude that there will be more. And there was nothing negative to report, he is doing average to great in every subject, which is a good thing. We talked about his frequent headaches, and agreed that a psychologist would be able to help more than a doctor, though of course as with most such problems, the doctor is where you start. Sigh.

Also, when I first spoke to the school director, I had the distinct impression that kids transfer to their regular school over Christmas break, or over summer break, and since the school is kind of far from our house, we rather hoped it would be sooner, i.e. now-ish. And his teacher said he was doing really well, so we thought maybe…? She seemed quite surprised, and said oh no, if he does really, really well, he might be able to transfer over the summer break, but it’s much more likely that he’ll be at this school until next Christmas. So that was a bit of a disappointment, but she did say that the schools in our neighborhood are pretty academically rigorous,* and also that they have waiting lists, so maybe it’s good that we have a year. And I guess I’d better start visiting schools soonish… Oh good, another thing to do.

* compared to schools in other neighborhoods, not compared to German schools. German (well, Bavarian) schools are much more demanding academically, and our kids are ahead of their agemates in most subjects. Once upon a time I would have said that academic rigor is the most important thing. But now that I’ve seen what can happen when a school doesn’t concern itself with the social development of the children in its care, I think we’re better off here.

Song du jour of the day: The Colour of Snow, by Polarkreis 18.


Tuesday the kids stayed home sick. Wednesday I called Ignatz in sick for another day because he wasn’t quite better enough, then I took the Sniglet to school and realized that it was my turn to be sick! So I fell into bed the minute I got home. I got up once to fetch him from school, then tanked again. Today, I took him to school, went to my Dutch class, zooped home to supervise the plumber installing a new bathroom sink (pictures when I get my act together, no really), zooped off to fetch the Sniglet, had a 1-hour parent-teacher chat, brought him home, made spaghetti sauce and lasagna, and am now realizing that actually? I wasn’t really better enough to do all that. And Pakjesavond is Saturday, and we have people visiting on Saturday, and besides, the mall will be wall-to-wall people so it really does all have to get done tomorrow, doesn’t it? Sinterklaas is visiting the Sniglet’s school, parents are invited to observe until 10 and then we have to pick them up at noon, which is why I have to skip Dutch class tomorrow, so that leaves me two hours to get presents for the kids and then Ig and I have to get a gift for DrBob, and Snig and I have to get a gift for DrBob, and nothing has been wrapped yet and oh God I don’t even want to think about it all, commence drooling into keyboard… now.

Song du jour of the day: I’m Only Sleeping, by the Beatles.

got me again

I feel a need to explain why he got me again. Thing is, if the Sniglet doesn’t feel like going to school, he says he’s sick. And if he’s sick, he also says he’s sick. In exactly the same way, same weak and pitiful voice, same mournful face, so I can’t tell whether he is or not. I just have to guess, based on past experience, and one past experience was that I didn’t believe him and sent him to kindergarten anyway, when he was about four, and then he threw up. I felt really bad about not believing him – that was back when he was Little Mr Sunshine, before he went all Scorpio on us – and I also felt bad for the teachers, because cleaning up barf is never fun. So now, whenever he cries wolf says he’s ill, I think, “but what if it really is true this time?”

And you know, DrBob was sick last week. And I actually told Snig that I wasn’t buying it this time, but then Ignatz said “Uh, mama, I think you should believe him. I don’t feel so good either.” Now, when Ig says he “doesn’t feel so good,” what he means is “get a bucket.” So since DrBob had been sick, and Ig was now sick, it was sort of possible that for once the Sniglet was telling the truth. Wasn’t it? Half an hour later, Ig was horking his guts up, and Snig was asking for food. So I guess that’d be a no. No, he was not telling the truth this time, just like the last ten times.


His favorite ailment to claim is a headache, and when I talked to his teacher, she did mention that he gets a lot of headaches. So, you know, she believes him too. But he never gets them on weekends. And I’ve asked him if there’s something going on, some bullying or something that makes him not want to go to school, and he says no, there’s nothing. And I probably should take him to the doctor, but I kind of think these headaches are more likely to need a psychologist.

I feel bad, distrusting my own son like this, but he does this all the time: and then I call the school to tell them he’s not coming and as soon as that’s done he perks right up and wants food, can I make him some soup, and how about some tea, and can I bring his blankets down and make up a bed on the couch so he can watch cartoons, and bye! he’s going to a friend’s house…

Argh. All right. I am putting my foot DOWN. As of today, unless there’s a fever or actual vomit in evidence, he is going to school. They get barfing kids occasionally, I’m sure they know how to deal with it. And if he is really sick, not being believed will really suck, but hey. That’s what you get for telling lies.

Song du jour of the day: of course! Little Lies, by Fleetwood Mac! Hee hee.