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There’s a Foosball Table in My Living Room

Foosball. The only people I knew who had a foosball table were Chandler and Joey on “Friends.”

Oh, okay, I didn’t really know them know them.  But they did have a foosball table.

And now I have a foosball table too.

About two months ago, before we knew we were moving, we re-arranged the boys’ shared bedroom, a shift that included moving Caleb’s legos from one side of the room to the other.  His response to this shift was something like HOW CAN YOU MOVE THINGS IT’S PERFECT THE WAY IT IS NOOOOO PLEASE NO CHANGES NOOOOO PLEASE DONNNNNNNT.

You would’ve thought we were asking him to take up residence in the cupboard under the stairs but without the consolation of magic or Quidditch.

So as you might imagine, I felt a tad anxious about how our change-averse eight-year old would handle the news that we were moving.

Then in a sporting goods store, where we were buying one of the boys new soccer shoes football boots, I had a revelation. While I was paying, I saw Caleb and Liam playing with the foosball table that the store had on display. Or rather, the boys saw “foosball” but I saw a bribe an incentive: announce the move and then tell them that the new house would have room for a foosball table.

Worked like a charm. We explained that we were moving, Caleb immediately began to angle for livestock–bunnies, gerbils, guinea pigs, dogs–then we countered with the foosball table and he was sold. Wondered why we weren’t moving RIGHT AWAY.

I found a foosball table for sale on dubizzle, the UAE equivalent of Craigslist, and voila: here it is, wedged into the living room behind the couch:


Do you suppose that either Chandler or Joey ever played foosball in his underpants? That’s Caleb’s preferred uniform.

True, my living room now feels a bit like a frat boy lounge, but you know what? Foosball is wicked fun and I’m thinking that spinning all these knobs is probably good for my triceps.  I do slap the ball into my own goal with alarming regularity, unfortunately, which means that I’m at the bottom of the family foosball tournament ladder.

Heh. But I practiced this week while the boys were at school and I’ve developed a little whizbang shot that works like a charm.  So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go kick some eight-year old ass.



Continue Reading · on June 14, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, family, Kids, Parenting

Monday Listicle: the anti-resolution resolution list

I took a little internet break over the winter holidays, or tried to, anyway (I can’t ignore twitter, what can I say) but now I’m back in Abu Dhabi, back in the interwebs, wondering what to write. I mean, it’s seven days into January. I don’t know about you slackers but I’ve already lost ten pounds, written a novel, redecorated the house, re-organized my files, and gotten a second doctorate.

Okay, that last one is a joke.

You can imagine my relief, then, when that fantastic Northwest Mommy suggested that we write a list of things we have no intention of changing in 2013. Sounds good to me. And then maybe I’ll get around to pondering the meaning of the new year sometime later this month, when I celebrate Barack’s second term and my last year of being forty. I mean, omigod my last year of being in my forties. Yes. That’s right. In 2014 I hit fifty. Or fifty hits me.

So with that end in sight, herewith a list of things that ain’t gonna change in 2013. At least not this month.

1. There will be cheese. I went a whole month without cheese, really I did. And good lord was it dull. A shop window in New York gave me a word for myself:

The word is “turophile” and it means a connoisseur of cheese. Yep. If you’re on Broadway around 18th street, stop in at Beecher’s. Try the Hooligan. You won’t be sorry.

2. There will be family. Last Christmas, when we visited New York, I raced us around visiting all and sundry, without logging in nearly enough time with my family. This year I learned my lesson and we spent a big chunk of our time hunkered down with family galore. Well, we’re not that big a group when all is said and done, but so it was a small galore, but still…a galore. And it was galore-ious. For those friends who we didn’t see, thousands of apologies and promises for long visits this summer, after we get the kids out of the bread line.

cousins queuing up for soup, Depression style

3. There will be driving. I will drive around to various soccer-related events. I will drive and drive and drive, in my little SUV, stunned that somehow I moved all the way to freaking Arabia and became a soccer mom. Here I am in an cosmopolitan city, living in a fifty-story high-rise, and yet I drive around like I live … in New Jersey.

4. I will keep working on my various writing projects. And more than that I will not say, other than to say that if I keep saying “my writing projects” in public, then eventually I will have to produce said projects. Which is to say that in fact I haven’t really written a novel this year. Yet. Dammit.

5. There will be teaching. And as much as I might complain about grading the essays and preparing for class, it’s still the best teaching gig I’ve ever had. Bright, committed students from around the world–the kind of students who are shocked shocked when they go to other institutions and discover that sometimes students come to class without doing the readingStudents like these? A gift.

6. I will remain fascinated (rather than frustrated) by life in Abu Dhabi, life in the Gulf, life so far from “home.” I suppose this one is really more of a hope than a resolution but I’ve seen what happens to people when they only see frustration. It’s an odd place to live, there’s no doubt, but it’s not altogether a bad place to live, if a person has to live somewhere.

7. I will be grateful for the health and happiness of my children, who amaze and delight me on a daily basis. I don’t know about you, but the tragedy of Newtown haunts me; I say a tiny “thank you” every time I hug one of my kids.

8. Husband and I will find time to be together when I’m not nagging him about picking up his socks and he’s not wondering why I’m so tetchy about making the bed every morning. Remarkably, we will celebrate our fifteenth wedding anniversary this summer, so we should probably remember to be nice to each other most of the time all year.

9. There will be ladies night out. I believe that couples should spend time together without kids (if they have them; without pets if they have those), but spending time with women friends helps me re-charge my batteries. A walk on the Corniche, a long lunch, or a weekend away from the families–it’s practically a medical necessity (and certainly helps with #8, above). Roger Cohen, in this column from the NY Times, said that “one has best friends in part to talk with them about the problems one has with one’s loves.” Bingo, baby. I mean….that’s what I would do if I ever had any problems with darling sock-dropping Husband.

10.  I will keep in mind this advice from Bill Cunningham, via a chalkboard outside a shop in New York:

Continue Reading · on January 8, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, family, Kids, Monday Listicle, NYC

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