House Sold

Click to read on Dawn: http://dawn.com/2012/05/06/humour-house-sold/

I sold my house before I moved back to Canada, it was quite an experience and I discovered things I couldn’t imagine about people I have known all my life.

Remember the house I got renovated? I sold it. And I moved. But that is another story. Unless you have gone mad and decided to move half way across the world — and having gone through this extremely painful process myself I would not advocate it for anyone — never sell your house. First of all you should only sell your house, if it has a leaky roof, cracked floors, and crumbling walls. Or if a close relative has passed away and left you a mansion on Tipu Sultan road.

Selling your house is an uncomfortable process; it will keep you up at nights and give you plenty of indigestion. You will have all kinds of people invading your privacy requesting tours of your house at odd hours of the day. And they will want to know why you chose to paint your daughter’s room two shades of pink and why the kitchen counters are black. They will shake their heads unbelievingly at the ‘extravagant’ price, then bug you after you sell the house to someone else, why you didn’t inform them first, because they had their hearts set on it.

A house that you have lived in for a long time becomes part of you; it hosts your celebrations and shelters your rainy days. It watches your children grow and becomes their first friend; its walls hold up everything from little pink and blue bunny rabbit cut-outs to posters of sleek cars or rock stars with bad hair-dos. It provides a personal little haven known as the bedroom, where your moody teenagers retreat to when the world doesn’t treat them right. It listens patiently, never judging, never offering unwanted advice to the angry adolescent but pacifies them with the knowledge, that here, they are accepted. It sadly hears your fights and joyfully watches reconciliations. It guards every secret obsessively.

I miss my house. And it took me months to wind everything up. Twenty years of possessions are hard to get rid of. And you won’t believe the junk I had. Actually, you probably would because every Pakistani woman has an incredible imagination when it comes to recycling. Closets that were full of spare dupattas of cast away suits, clothes piled up for repairs or distribution to various destinations, shoes that had been worn out and forgotten about, hair clips, scrunchies and makeup kits that were never used. Stashes of candy, hidden from the children. I could almost hear my house moan sadly as I continued to deprive it of all its belongings.

The kitchen cupboards were stripped of countless empty ice-cream containers, unused dishes, utensils and plastic bags. Oh how we women adore our plastic bags! Of course my maid had a field day, and I felt a bit guilty at her bliss on receiving such trivial little titbits. I know my house will miss her too. The way she helped me scrub and dust out each and every corner was admirable, getting our house ready for the new owners as we reminisced and even shed some tears together.

Sniff. Enough! Never regret a decision, it wastes too much time. Just learn from it. Which gets me to the real point. When we put our house up for sale, a wise old person told us it is ethical to ask your neighbours first if they are interested. We did, fortunately everyone already had their own house. Neighbours are one thing. Relatives are another.

Never sell your house to a relative. Especially if you are the type of person with a lot of ‘lihaaz’ (read: doormat). That is where they get you, at your lihaaz. Because of lihaaz you will sell your house at a rock bottom price and then listen quietly as your relatives whine incessantly about how broke they are. They will also want to get it renovated some more before they move in. Never mind the fact that you still live there. Lihaaz aap ko mar day ga.

After the house is sold, your relatives will come often with the pretext of helping you wind up the house. They are actually coming to make sure you don’t damage any of the walls while moving out large and heavy furniture. Speaking of large and heavy furniture, don’t bother trying to sell it or give it to any of your best friends. Your relatives will do you a big favour by insisting that you leave everything and they will take care of it for you. Later they will complain to all and sundry that you left your broken down junk for them. That ‘junk’ that will later adorn their drawing rooms.

And then of course there is the large collection of electronic gadgets that you will leave for them. And they will have the gall to phone you up to tell you the stuff you left for them (that they had asked for, by the way) doesn’t work, and it is costing them a lot to get it fixed. So you offer to give them their money back… oops, you gave it to them for free. So what to do now?

Don’t let it come to this, heed my advice and never sell your house. Especially not to relatives.

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Stormy skies

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We stopped at the park after school. It was wonderfully windy and grey and the sky had a lot to say.

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Don’t you just love stormy skies?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning

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This is how you should think of a new day, everyday. Beginning.

Random Thought About : Snow. And Dogs.

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(Photo by me. Beautiful, clean and poop free snow!)

I just had a random thought. Why can’t dogs bury their poop like cats? I like dogs. I just don’t like their poop lying hidden in the grass. Another random thought, why don’t owners pick up their dog’s poop like they are supposed to? Does it give them some creepy joy, the thought of some unsuspecting random person accidentally stepping in their dog’s poop? Do they think it looks festive in the snow in winter? Do they know how hard it is to keep reminding six-year-old twins to watch where they are walking, don’t pick up the snow without examining it carefully to make sure it is dog poop free, and stay off the grassy edges of the sidewalk  because that is where dog owners like to leave the most dog poop? We don’t want to see dog poop. Not in the grass or in the snow, not by a tree or under the park bench. However we also don’t want to not see it, so just pick it up! OR get a cat. My rant for the day. Thank you.

dog poop

 

(photo from: http://hoboken411.com/archives/34284)

 

What to do on a Snow Day

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I am sick today. And I sit here with a box of tissues, a bottle of hydrasense and a clove of burning garlic shoved in my aching ear. I am too sick to do anything but have random thoughts and watch boring shows on TV. Daytime television is bleh. There is more snow coming. “When the snows fall and the white winds blow…” the bus ain’t coming cause school is closed.

For Moms:

1. Make a huge amount of hot chocolate. Pour in a bottle of Benadryl. Give them as much as they like, they’ll all be out before you know it.

2. Send them outside and offer a ‘ten’ for every igloo they make. They’ll stay out of your hair the whole day. Then give them a dime for every igloo. What?

3. Send them over to Grandma’s. That is what parents are for. (Be sure to move to Florida after they get married and have their own kids.)

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For Kids:

1. Make your own hot chocolate.

2. Offer to make breakfast and let Mom go back to sleep.

3. Clean the house while Mom sleeps.

4. Take care of younger brothers and sisters while Mom sleeps.

5. Make chicken sandwiches for lunch, feed everyone, then clean up the kitchen while Mom sleeps.

6. Make Mom the best cup of coffee/tea ever and serve it to her on a tray with a flower in bed.

7. If you can’t manage all the above, take all your brothers and sisters and go over to Grandma’s. Stay there.

Any more ideas for the next snow day?

(All pics courtesy of moi taken on Feb 8)

Having Doubts

I was reading through ‘when in doubt’ quotes because I am in doubt. When I am not procrastinating, I am busy being in doubt. I found some enlightening advice and I thought you could use it.

“When in doubt, don’t.”  Benjamin Franklin

“When in doubt, do it.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

“When in doubt or danger, run in circles, scream and shout.” Laurence J. Peter

“When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.”
Cynthia Heimel

I found all this extremely helpful. Especially running around in circles and screaming, it relieves the tension and gives the kids a good laugh. And if you think you are making a fool of yourself, act like an intellectual so you seem ‘brilliantly creative’ to everyone else.

Seriously though doubt is so hard to deal with, all the advice says ‘just write’ and keep writing. As Dory would say “just keep swimming”.

 

But how do you convince yourself? Sometimes I just want to lock my laptop up and throw away the key. Just forget about the whole thing. Sometimes I just sit there and cry while I eat plenty of chocolate. I am not good enough, there are too many people already writing, I don’t have a Master’s degree in English Literature, I don’t post enough on my blog, I don’t have any articles or short stories published in any of the ‘big’ magazines, I am not a member of any affiliation for writers, I don’t have time, I do have time but I can’t do it, I have too much housework, I will end up not giving the kids enough time and they will end up disturbed juvenile delinquents, the kitchen floor needs to be mopped. The thing that is behind everything is doubt that I just can’t write at all. And I thought it was just me, but apparently even published writers have their doubts: How to Conquer Self Doubt and Just Write

And if that inspires you enough then you might want to try writing a short story for this competition: Young Adult Fiction Competition

They extended the deadline, so if you stop doubting and get writing you can make the dead line. Good luck.

(All Images from Google Images)

Thanks

Thanks Fortyteen Candles for nominating my blog for the One Lovely Blog Award.

No that is not the Award, this is:

And you don’t just get an award and then do nothing but be happy about it. There are some things you have to do.

1. Give credit to the person who nominated you. Which I have done.

2. Describe 7 things about yourself. Which I have not done. Yet.

3. Nominate 15 other bloggers. Which I suppose I should do. Even though it is Friday afternoon and I am feeling very lazy.

7 Things About Me

1. I need breakfast first thing in the morning. Other wise this happens…

2. I have an obsessive-compulsive disorder for putting things in the proper place. None of my children seem to have inherited this. They insist on inheriting all my husband’s genes. They will be sorry when they one day grow up and find their houses are on “Hoarders: Buried Alive”. And I will be watching and laughing in my spotless living room.

3. After I had kids I started using Mommy language. This consists of standard sentences such as :”who ate all the ice cream?” “who didn’t flush the toilet?” “who put the cat in the freezer?” as well as “no I don’t have money” “no I have not cooked anything else for dinner besides the four course meal on the table” “no you can’t use my lipstick”. And most commonly, ” I can’t wait till you have kids of your own!”

“who took my tweezers damn it?!”

4. I forget to close the lid on the toilet at night even after reading “Good Habits my Cats Have Taught Me” by http://misanthropology101.wordpress.com/.

And my cat falls in without fail.

5. I got my eyebrows threaded and no longer look that much like Russel Brand. But my daughter still calls me Russel. 

6. That is not a picture of my eyebrow. Mine are better.

7. I don’t really care whether Robert Pattinson moved out or not. He is not really Edward Cullen people, get a life!

15 Blogs I Nominate:

1. Story Addict

2. Communicating.Across.Boundaries

3. smileinstyle

4. clotildajamcracker

5. the urge to wander

6. yummyfoodmadeeasy

7. Ashley Jillian

8. Words From The Woods

9. Writerlious

10. heylookawriterfellow

11. Paddy’s kitchen

12. Nazar Blue

13. Life Behind the Pages

14. Life As We Show It

15. Fabulous 50’s

(All pics are from Google Images)

Sunshine Award

I got a nice surprise today, and I had not really planned to post anything. I am going a little nutty working on my second novel, and I was already more than a little nutty. Now I keep getting my kids names mixed up and my house is a mess and most of the time everybody goes hungry…but I guess I have to do this post today.

Anish Nair nominated me for this and I had no idea what I was supposed to do and since I am a dummy I spent quite a bit of time trying to find out. He has a really nice blog: http://lifeasweshowit.wordpress.com/ you should go and visit it.

So…first thank the person who nominated you,

Thank you Anish, it is nice to get something unexpected!

second tell 10 things about yourself   

this took some time!

1. I think I am a writer, my teenager thinks I am just avoiding housework 😉

2. I think I am a gourmet cook, my husband thinks I shouldn’t burn the food so often.

3. I think I look like a super model, my daughter thinks I need to go on a diet.

4. I think I have a great sense of humor, my friends think I am nuts.

5. I think I look good with a few grays, my daughter thinks I should dye my hair blue.

6.  I think 60’s songs are great, my kids think I was actually around in the 60’s.

7. I think I am honest and frank, my boss thought I was trying to start a rebellion.

8. I think cats are purrfect, my cats thought I was their mommy.

9. I think it’s great to hang out at the mall, my husband thinks I eat too many donuts there.

10. I think I am the perfect mom, never mind what my kids think!

third nominate five blogs 

This one was tough because there are so many great blogs out there.

1. http://lifebehindthepages.wordpress.com/

2.http://catwoodsblog.com/

3.http://communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com/

4.http://ashleyjillian.com/

5.http://theurgetowander.com/

Multicultural, confused and enjoying it.

I was feeling kind of homesick, which is confusing, because now I have two homes (Canada and Pakistan). If I stay at one, I’ll always be missing the other. This is a post I did for Karachi tips. Ever feel homesick?

Click to read:http://www.karachitips.com/blog/2012/04/26/love-from-abroad-i-miss-karachi-my-home/

Diary entry of a just hit 40-obsessive compulsive disorder- want to kill myself-mom;

Dear diary I am about to down a handful of sleeping pills and end my misery.

Just as soon as I have washed my hands, they are a little greasy from the eggs I just fried. I am serious, I can’t take it anymore. I am old, eight pounds overweight, no one ever listens to me and my life is a mess. I drag myself out of bed in the early dark hours of the morning, every morning . I make omelets only to remember that it was scrambled egg day. Can you imagine that?

I try to wake up teenagers who stare at me dumbly, sit up, walk to the bathroom and then go back to bed, after giving me a dirty look and informing me that it is only five thirty a.m. Why can’t they understand that they will be late if they don’t get an early start? I mean it could start hailing at the last minute then how will they walk out to the car? We could suddenly be shrouded in an unexpected fog or have a torrential down pour. All the school work that would pile up, or they could maybe even miss a surprise test that was supposed to make up thirty percent of their total grade!

But they roll their eyes and bury their heads under pillows, they do it to scare the hell out of me, they know they could accidentally asphyxiate themselves.  But no one cares about anything, except me. How I struggle with my ill-bred family! It is all my husband’s fault really, he doesn’t set much of an example. On scrambled egg day he will always insist on hard-boiled. It just drives me nuts, what am I supposed to do with his scrambled egg then? I can’t eat it, it’ll overload me with cholesterol. I’ll bet that is what he is aiming for.  The kids never want it, I have a hard time shoving their breakfasts down their throats let alone my husband’s. Their idea of proper breakfast is an egg and toast. That is it. I don’t understand how growing kids can get by without cereal, juice, eggs, toast, milk, fruit, cheese and a bran muffin. They don’t understand the concept of a balanced diet. They’ll be sorry one day when they suffer from anorexia.

Either anorexia or God forbid some disease that can’t even be pronounced, brought on by the unhygienic conditions that seem to prevail in our house. It’s like I speak a different language either that or their brains aren’t working. I knew they needed more protein. I say “Everything has to be put in the proper place after you are done using it.”  Somewhere along the line the message changes to “Everyone use whatever you want and throw it around the house when you are done with it because I am your God damned servant and want to spend the rest of my life cleaning up your shit.” And those are the instructions they follow.

And of course the house is a constant battle ground. My kids fight over everything, the remote, the phone, the last juice box, the first juice box, a place to sit at the table, who uses the washroom first( even though there are three bathrooms, it seems that only one can entice them to poop), everything.

They think I am some fanatical mad dictator, just because I want a little order in the house. Ok yes, in the neighborhood too. It’s not my fault that people can’t tell the difference between recyclables and organic waste. You’d think they would have a little common sense. And if I can make the garbage man’s life just a little easier by making sure the neighbors’ garbage is in the right bin, then I don’t see why my husband has to have such a cow over it.

I don’t know where I have gone wrong, obviously  in too many places. And so I must end this. Here I go. Damn it! First I have to go clean the bathroom. The dishes need to be washed, and so does the laundry. Ok maybe tomorrow I will be able to fit it into my schedule. I just hope it doesn’t take more than fifteen minutes, I hate being late.

(I got all the pictures from Google Images)