Avoiding Crisis

Archive for July 2007


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It’s now official, we’ve been replaced.

Our replacement will not arrive for another year, but still.  Replaced.  I don’t know our replacement or even if he or she has a family accompanying him or her but already I know that I wouldn’t like them even if I did happen to meet them (which is not likely since we’ll probably be kicked out of here in time for them to arrive).  They may be the nicest people on the face of the earth, but still, they’re replacing us.  They’re the reason I have to move away from here.  I have to leave so that they can come here.  Lucky bastards.

An early morning call to my husband revealed that he had 400+ unread email messages to deal with (that totally sucks for him) and that, oh, by the way, his position had officially been filled (or paneled as he likes to say, but I’m not going to bore you with the whole process and what exactly it means to be paneled. Well, actually, I will bore you with that, but not right now…maybe next month.)

Two years and two days ago we arrived in Argentina. I always knew that our assignment was only 3 years. Part of me had secretly (and not so secretly) let it be known that if it was possible I’d extend for a fourth year.  But that nasty little war in the Middle East and the State department staffing issues that go hand in hand put the kibosh on even the slightest thought of an extension.  I accepted that.  I didn’t like it, but I accepted it.   I knew that we were going to have to leave eventually.  That I wouldn’t be able to stay here forever. That we would eventually be replaced by another State department employee and we would move on to our next assignment.

So while some new agent gets ready to go to language training and gets to look forward to moving to and living in Buenos Aires for 2 or 3 years, we get to face the reality that, in fact, in one years time we will be packing up and moving out.  But unlike the lucky guy or gal who will be replacing us, we don’t yet know where we’ll be going next and we won’t know until sometime early next year.

And while we’re on the topic of next assignments….the whole bureaucratic mess process of finding out where we will go next will begin in a few weeks.  And what a process it is. I’m sure that the trials and tribulations of bidding, as we like to call it, will make it into this blog on many more then one or two or even three occasions. It should be fun! oh god please no somebody shoot me now and put me out of my misery…

Excuse me while I go cry into my pillow and drown my sorrows with chocolate.  Oh shit.  We really are going to have to leave here.  Waa Waa Waa.  I’m such a cry baby.

Living overseas and moving like we do is a lot like living life on a roller-coaster.  One with a few twists and turns in the beginning a very soft and smooth middle followed by a long steep climb to a huge drop.  I’ve just made it to the top of that climb.  We’re on our way down.  My stomach can feel it.

Hold on. It’s going to be an interesting ride.


oh yeah…and in case you lost count….10 days to my birthday.  Got me a present yet?


Written by nicolemarie

July 30, 2007 at 10:30 pm


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I’m blogging right now because I can. Because I have my trusty new laptop and a neato wifi connection and because my children are otherwise entertained by a Little Einstein’s DVD being played on our portable DVD player.  Oh how I love technology! 

We’re at the airport getting ready to leave to return home to Buenos Aires.  And after nine days in the metropolitan DC area, I can honestly say that I’m really ready to go home.  Oh how I want to go home and sleep in my own bed, cook in my own kitchen, go to the gym (to get rid of the 5 pounds I’ve seemed to put on…ugh), blog on a more regular basis and just do all those things that I do on a regular basis. 

It was great to see my family and the few friends that we were able to connect with but it’s time to get back to normal life and back to our daily routine. ‘Cause as much as I say the daily routine we follow is necessary for the kids, that it keeps them balanced and in much much better moods, I definitely benefit from routine.  As, I think, we all do.

So give me a few days to recoup from the 11 hour over night flight that I’m about to board and then I’ll be back in full blogging force. 

Written by nicolemarie

July 28, 2007 at 10:14 pm

Posted in blogging, travel


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Every time we return to the United States, whether it be for a short week long visit like this one or a longer visit like the one we take between overseas assignments, it always feels like all we do is shop and eat. It probably feels that way because, well, we do spend an awful lot of time shopping and eating.

That, and the occasional television watching. The latter of which is usually accompanied with an overwhelming sense of amazement at how many new channels there always are and how little there actually is to watch. Which doesn’t seem to stop us from watching countless hours of really really bad television. Somehow I actually find myself missing the crazy Argentine variety shows because at least they’re completely outrageous.

Getting back to eating and shopping.

We’ve definitely been able to curb the whole eating thing this time around – thankfully. During out last long trip back to the United States my husband and I both found ourselves overindulging and gaining a whole lot of weight. Which, after two years, we’ve seemed to have finally rid ourselves of.

Believe it or not those few food items that I thought I had to have, that I though I truly and dearly missed and couldn’t wait to get in my mouth, they’ve all been quite disappointing. I think it’s that whole building something up in your mind thing to a point at which what you remember and what actually is are not the same. And what you remember is always oh so much better.

There is one thing that I didn’t think I missed, or more accurately never thought about whether or not I missed. And that’s book stores. Even mega bookstores like Borders. A store filled with every type of book. Rows and rows of bookshelves filled with books about anything and everything.

This comes as a slight surprise to me since I’m not actually an avid book reader. I read books from time to time, mostly nonfiction, but I tend to only have time for short items like magazine articles, online articles and blogs.

Today we went to a Borders. I wanted to pick up a potty training book. Specifically, I wanted to pick up a book on potty training boys, since this whole boys thing is a complete mystery to me and I’m at a complete loss for how to handle potty training. That and because I lent the potty training book that we semi-used for my daughter to a friend and she has yet to return it and I can’t recall who it was that I lent it to so I can’t even call and ask for it back.

So as I said, we went to Borders and I was in search of a potty training book for boys, which by the way I didn’t find. I did find a potty training book, four of them to be exact, but I didn’t find a boy-centric book. While I was heading over to the Parenting section of the store I couldn’t help but be distracted by every shelf and table lined with books. I must have looked like a deer caught in headlights or like a kid in a candy store. I imagine I looked quite similar to what my children looked like when their grandparents took them to Toys-R-Us and introduced them to the over abundance that is the American toy store.

All I wanted to do was sneak away from my husband, kids and parents and slouch down into one of those leather chairs and loose myself in a stack of books. I could have stayed there all day, browsing the shelves, running my fingers down the unbroken spines of countless books, flipping through the crisp pages, perusing the images in random coffee table books, reading and thinking and then reading some more.

Shopping online at Amazon.com just isn’t the same.

Written by nicolemarie

July 27, 2007 at 12:08 am

Posted in life, personal

debate the debate

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Did anyone watch the CNN/YouTube Debate last night? 

I was going to blog about it, as I had the last debate, but I just can’t seem to put any coherent thoughts together about it.  I can’t figure it out. I can’t seem to wrap my brain around the whole format.  I can’t decide whether or not I liked it.  But I’m thinking I didn’t.  I kept finding myself cringing with embarrassment at the questions that were being asked and the way in which they were asked.    

I don’t tend to like debates in any form, yet still, I find myself watching them.  Maybe if only to remind myself of how much I dislike them.  But last night’s debate was different and I can’t seem to decide whether or not I like different.  I should have liked it, right? It was supposed to engage the post baby-boom generations in politics, supposed to get our attention and make us feel like we matter, right?  It didn’t do that for me.  It just made me think about all the really interesting people that are out there spending way too much time trying to come up with crazy ways to ask politicians questions and get on television.  And who decided what questions/videos were going to make it into the debate?  What were the criteria? 

Call me old fashion, but I think maybe the political process may have been better served if we left the questioning to the journalists and political scientists.  Old fashion or maybe just an intellectual snob?

Any thoughts?  

Written by nicolemarie

July 24, 2007 at 10:36 am

Posted in politics


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Between Thursday and Saturday of last week I cannot even begin to tell you just how many times I was told of the amazing things that my father has done, or heard people talk about the inspiration he has provided to thousands of teachers and as a result thousands of students.  

I guess if I was a teacher I would kinda sorta maybe get what he’s saying here.  And maybe I’d even be inspired and motivated to be an even better teacher and maybe even a better person. 

Written by nicolemarie

July 23, 2007 at 11:41 pm

Posted in Dad, family, video

now what do you think of my party dress?

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so the festivities are over and the excitement of us traveling all the way from Argentina to surprise my father has finally died down. And before I tell you all about what went on during the last few days (which I will…cause I have lots to tell you about) I thought I’d start off with the most important part – that being my dress, my party dress.  Yes, the dress that I lied to you about.  The one I told you was for my birthday but really was for my Dad’s party. 

Well…this is what the dress looks like off the hanger and on me:


Written by nicolemarie

July 23, 2007 at 7:19 pm

Posted in personal, photos

lies, lies and more lies

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Remember the post about my party dress?  And about how it was for my birthday?  I lied. 

Remember when I told you that I’d be getting my new laptop in a few weeks?  And that my mother-in-law was brining it down with her when she comes to visit in August?  Yeah.  I lied about that too. 

The dress is really for a party that I’m attending this evening.  I’ll probably use it again for my birthday, so I wasn’t completely lying.  But I didn’t buy it for my birthday.  And the laptop, the beautiful, sweet, perfect laptop?  Well I’m using it right now.  I’m using it while sitting at the dining room table that is located in a four bedroom suite at the Wardman Park Marriott in Washington, DC.  A room, we’ve been told, that Eishenhower once occupied and used as his own residence upon returning from the war.  Pretty neat, no?  

I’m sorry for lying to you.  I didn’t like doing it.  I wanted to tell you the truth. Really, I did.  I wanted to tell you all about how just a few weeks ago we found out that we would be traveling to the United States to surprise my father and attend a celebration for his upcoming retirement.  I wanted to tell you that we were going to be staying with my parents at the Wardman Park , which just happens to be one of my favorite hotels in the area, and that we would get to see my brothers, both my brothers, and their significant others.  That the whole family would be together, all of us, under one roof, to honor my father and the work he’s done for millions of kids.  I wanted to tell you all about this when it was all working itself out, but I couldn’t.  So I lied. 

But it was for a good cause.  And it was SO worth it.  So worth the reaction from my father when he saw my daughter walk into a meeting that he was in.  So worth the speechlessness, the tears, the emotions that came with our arrival.  So worth every single moment that my parents get to spend with their grandkids and their uncles and aunt. 

And while I’d love to go on and on about all the fun we are having and just how wonderful it is to be here with my family, I’m not.  Instead I’m going to go have a whole lot of fun and enjoy every possible minute I can with my parents (who, by the way, are celebrating their 38th weddding anniversary today) and the rest of my family and I’m not going to write about it.  Well, at least not right now. 

I’m taking a few days off.  I’ll be back Sunday or Monday to fill you in on all the wonderful and exciting things that are going on around here. 

Written by nicolemarie

July 19, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Posted in life