Tuesday, April 22, 2008


There are so many things in life to be dependent on... food, drugs, rock'n'roll. Or in our case, the internet, a driver, and sometimes each other.

I hate feeling dependent. I try to not use the word "hate" too often, it's a strong term, very very rarely applicable to people, and too strong for just about anything else. "Hate" heavy traffic? Well, no, it's frustrating. "Hate" close-minded people? No, I feel more pity for them than anything. Hate hate hate, people use the term so freely, much like love. I try not to use Love for anything but things I truly love. I love the people in my family. I do not love food. Or our car. Or nice weather. Etc. It's a nit-picky thing of mine.
But getting back to dependency. I can say that I truly, honestly, fully, dislike feeling dependent.
Our internet went out sometime yesterday and suddenly I got the jitters because I just had to check e-mail and get in an on-line order and check something inane like a recipe. Getting over the broken-internet jitters only takes a day or so, but while it's going on it's SO annoying.
Worse though was our driver skipped out Monday. OK, his mother-in-law died and I'm not a cold-hearted person but this is the 3rd time this year a relative has died and he's left. Remember, we've only been back since January 25th, so it's been about a death a month. Last time, he didn't come in on a Saturday. We can work with that. This time, a Monday. He called in the middle of the morning, and left. I get off work at 12:30. What now? Thank goodness a friend was picking me up for lunch right by the Consulate. About 10 a.m. Nicholas called from the school, he was feeling sick. Great mom that I am had to tell him that unless he was vomitting or burning up he'd just have to get through the day. I'd told all the kids I'd pick them up from school, instead I called front office, asked them to have Rebecca call me back, and when she did instructed her to get the boys on the bus and tell Katherine she had to take her bus too. Katherine is hit or miss with directions so my lunch buddy offered to have Katherine come home with her son. I figured one way or the other, she'd make it home. By the end of the day I also had my neighbor offering to send her driver and Ian talking to motorpool about whether or not she was taking the bus. She did make it home with her school friend, and Ian carpooled home with our neighbor. Made it through Monday. Today being Tuesday, I got a ride home with my neighbor who was at the Consulate around lunch time, I'd texted another friend to see if Rebecca could come home from afterschool swim with her daughter, told all the other kids to take the bus, and Ian caught the Consulate shuttle back. Made it through Tuesday. Of course, our housekeeper is bolting early tomorrow and won't be in Thursday or Friday, and our gardener didn't show up today. He was out for about 6 weeks March-April "in hospital" and sent his nephew to fill in. The nephew doesn't do much but sweep so after only this past week of our gardener being back and starting to get the yard into some sort of shape, he's gone again and who knows for how long this time.
Yes, I'm about ready to fire them all.
Back to the driver. I'd also scheduled dental appointments for three of the kids Monday evening. Rescheduling appointments is not a simple task here, for anything. Once you have an appointment, you stick with it. As it was, I rescheduled all three for Friday. Of course today I received a call saying the Ped dentist won't be in on Friday and I'd need to reschedule again. For some reason she couldn't grasp it was for more than one kid, and once I got her to two kids ("Yes, Nicholas AND Jonathon...") getting her to add Rebecca was like, well, like pulling teeth. ("There are three children... Nicholas, Jonathon AND Rebecca... Rebecca... Yes, I know you have the two boys, but my daughter Rebecca is coming too... Look, it's the same appointment I had for Monday for three kids and already moved to Friday for three kids... for 3 kids... yes... THREE.... REBECCA.... R... E..., no, not C... B... E... C...C...A... at 4:30... Yes, all three starting at 4:30).
I know all this sounds ridiculous. How hard can life be with a housekeeper, driver, etc. It's back to the dependency thing again. I depend on them to make my life easier because like it or not, the basics in India are more difficult than the basics in America. When my helpers don't (help, that is), I get annoyed. When they are more of a hassle than a help, I start rethinking things. I've gotten to the point (again) of really really wanting to just drive myself. I can shop at four stores, I can clean on my knees, I can even do dishes without a dishwasher. Heck, having the kids do more around the house would be a good thing, I could pass off the dishes to them. I already do all the laundry, most of the cooking....
After work today I attended a short talk by Robin Pascoe. She's doing an India tour and in Chennai has spoken at the school, the Consulate, and a number of other groups. Her talk was general and focussed on the challenges we face raising kids abroad, the strains on our marriage and how going "home" doesn't mean the same thing to any of us (oftentimes even within a family). Sometimes we become too dependent on our spouses for daily needs, on our careers for validation, on our children for self-definition. Dependency, dependency.
Balance, that's what I'm looking for. Balance and reliability. And a stop to the dependence. I need self-reliance and the one major place it's lacking is mobility. I'll make myself a promise.
Before I leave, I will drive in India.

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