Saturday, August 9, 2008

Summertime blues

Posted by kuri, ping, the pinglet, & mini-ping on 8/09/2008
I'm long overdue for a rant about Japan. But it's a perfect time...the weather is unbearably hot, I'm sweating so much that I think I've lost 2/3'rds of my body weight (don't I wish), and I'm going to have to really start packing to move at the end of the month to our new place, while trying to keep the Pinglet out of everything and not melting into a puddle. I'm not in a very happy place at the moment.

Recently, the Pinglet has been a bit--how shall I put it?--pissed off with the world irritable with her daily routine. I'm not sure if it is because she's still getting used to her one nap per day, or if she's ready for some new challenges, like learning how to drive or taking up macrame.

I was at a loss about what to do with her this afternoon. With her new nap schedule, mornings have become prime time to take her out. This morning, we went to a local center with some friends where she ran around, shared a toy with another baby (hello, milestone!), and generally tired herself out, which made me a happy camper. She took a nap and ended up waking up at 3PM. Too late to go anywhere fun and too early to call it a day and put her to bed for the night** (tangent below)

The weather wasn't cooperating (dark, heavy, black clouds on the horizon, but a gorgeous breeze to dry the sweat flowing down my face) so I decided to take her down the street to a place that is billed as a local park, but is actually a walking track with a bit of greenery in the middle.

Those of you who live in Japan know that the presence of grass is something to get excited about. Most "parks", at least in my city, are little more than areas covered with dirt, and maybe including a few decrepit things for the kids to play on.

It took about 30 minutes to walk to the park, during which time I'm trying to keep the Pinglet in the stroller, while wiping rivers of sweat off my face, because I don't want her to walk into traffic since we live on a road that could best be described as a highway.

I get to the park and am so grateful to have arrived that I (stupidly) start to take the Pinglet out of the stroller. I get her shoes on and then I look up. The park is under maintenance. There are bulldozers, trucks, and many men wearing the same uniform, ripping up the grass and generally making a mess of the place (Similar to the "landscaping" of trees along roads...the trees are trimmed to within an inch of their lives so that there is absolutely no shade during the summer months, but at least the city doesn't have to rake up the leaves, which I guess is the reasoning behind altering the trees into shapes not known to humankind.)

I would have put this down to routine maintenance, but it's the middle of (1) summer vacation and (2) Obon, which means that everyone and their mother is off from school or work and is traveling around the country. Which means that parks are operating at top capacity. Which means get your %#%"$#$ trucks off the non-existent grass!

With the return trip to my apartment together with a whining Pinglet, I ended up sweating for an entire hour. I happened to see a kakigori stand on the other side of the road on my way to the park so I was planning to stop there on the way back. Of course, I get there and they had just closed for the day.

I continue my sweaty walk and bump into a supermarket worker who, because I was too hot to figure out what she was talking about and then felt too bad to refuse her, is now coming to my apartment on Monday morning to sell me on the idea of getting food delivered from the local grocery store (for $.50 per month! It's a good idea but I rarely cook so I can't imagine what I would need this service for).

What a waste of a day. At least it didn't start pouring until I actually got home.

**Bedtime tangent: When my sister and I were teenagers, we babysat for our cousins. It was a nice little sidejob but because they were family, we had to take a special rate, also known as the "Family Rate". It's a pittance, but you are compensated in other ways with snacks, movies on channels that your mother wouldn't let you watch, etc. All in all, it was a good system. But because we were getting the family rate, we decided that we didn't need to actually do anything with our cousins. Our job was to keep them alive and unhurt until their parents came home and to have as little to do with them as possible.

One of our main problems was that we wanted to watch certain shows and the cousins didn't. They wanted to watch cartoons or other kiddy stuff. So we devised a plan. We started to put them to bed earlier and earlier. Bedtime was at 8PM. So we would tell them it was 8PM, when it was really 7PM and off to bed they went. They got savvier as they got older though. They learned how to tell time, which we got past by actually turning the clock hands ahead, and they also learned that it was dark at 8PM. We got past that obstacle by telling them that it was daylight savings time.

Feel free to use these ideas for your own kids! They'll thank you when they're older.

4 of you feeling verklempt. Tawlk amongst yourselves:

dongurigal said...

Now that is what I call a bad day! Summer's almost over. Yay! (I never thought I'd say that).

Christelle said...

Thanks for all your comments on my blog and your support in 0-6. Looking forward to commiserating with you on the phone soon (I'll call next week if that's ok). I wish we lived closer!!!!

We finally got a cool day yesterday and even cooler one today. Hope you're getting this weather too (though Jonah kicks off all his blankets and when I pick him up he's so cold and I feel like a terrible mother!! But it was hot when we put him to bed!! Ugh! I hate not being able to control the temperature in our house!!!)

Erin said...

I am starting to feel privileged for leaving Japan in the middle of July- I thought it was bad as my glasses were fogging up from the humidity just when I was sitting down! (I thought I was losing weight by sweating too!!) But maybe I lucked out? I know all of our Japanese friends want us to return for Obon :) I hope it cools down!!

Anonymous said...

ROTFL! Does it make me a bad mother that I went along with that baby-sitting routine? Priceless can't make this stuff up.
BTW, how come you left out the all-important "if you can find it, you can eat it" part?
Thanks for the walk down memory lane, Chrissy.
Love, Aunt Patty


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