So, it's been an interesting couple of days for me.
First (and most importantly), Ella turned five months old on Monday. I honestly can't believe that five months have flown by that quickly. I feel like it was just a few weeks ago when Colin & I were snuggling on the couch at home - me very pregnant - talking about who we thought she'd look like and when she might finally get here. Wow. 2009 was really our best year ever - so full of wonderful surprises. Happy five month birthday, Bunny.
Other news... we have successfully purchased a car! Yay for us. One down, one to go. Colin actually did 90% of the leg work, and, believe me when I say there was LOTS of leg work. Purchasing a vehicle in Qatar is a bit of a challenge. Colin spent hours in various line ups and government offices in order to get us mobile again. And yesterday, our new wheels came home (http://www.newpajero.com/). So of course, we wanted to go out for a drive last night. Off we went for a spin around town!
The drive was relatively uneventful, UNTIL... we pull up to a roundabout. This one had traffic lights, so we are waiting at a red. This is what follows:
Colin - "Look! The car in front of us has a dog in it."
Tasha - "Sh*t - that's a big dog"
(The 'dog' then pokes his head out the back passenger side window to look at us.)
Tasha (stupidly) - "Kind of looks like a big cat"
Colin - "IT IS A CAT! OMG, It's a Leopard!"
Colin & Tasha in unison - "They have a freakin' leopard in their car!!!"
We then try to tail the leopard car in order for me to snap a photo of this absolutely crazy sight on my Blackberry. This animal was hanging out the window of this little car, and pacing back and forth in the back seat. No one else in the traffic jam seemed the least bit phased, and yet, Colin & I were going nuts that the person driving the car actually had a wild animal with him. Anyhow, I missed the picture when the light changed, and then we lost sight of the car.
So completely berserk. I asked my neighbours about it today & apparently although banned, animals like spotted leopards and cheetahs have become popular pets to some locals. Come on people... really? It was exciting (in a scary way) to see anyhow.
When I turned thirty (just a few moons ago), my gift to myself was a biweekly housekeeper. Greatest gift to self ever. Ladies, I highly recommend it. Colin had not one complaint as this let him off the hook on a few regular chores around the house. Theresa was excellent, and I soon realized that there were many things in life that I could go without, but my Theresa was not going to be one of them.
Fast forward to this week. I was on a mission to find a new housekeeper. It seems that just about every house on the compound either has part time help, or, a live in person. I met a couple ladies who I just didn't get the right 'vibe' from (probably because our 'vibes' were of different languages). Then a neighbour told me she was hiring a new lady and this person had other days available and had excellent references. I arrange to meet her & immediately like her. We agreed she would start on Monday.
What a glorious day Monday was. The clouds parted and the sun shone down upon our villa. Such a sweet sweet sound a vacuum cleaner makes when you are not the one hauling it around the house. I may be in love.... with Mercy. This woman can clean like no one I have ever seen. Every nook and cranny. I think she would have vacuumed the dogs if they got close enough. And guess what? She came back today and did ironing! I hate ironing! (Actually, I flat out refuse to do ironing... too dangerous, really. Scalding hot is not a temperature I am interested in. Colin is the iron-er in our house).
To sum it up - she is AWESOME. And, she will be working for us TWO days a week. Hooray for Mercy! She is great! Hooray for me in my unwrinkled clothes! Things are starting to look a little brighter for sure. Perhaps it's the gleam from all the furniture polish and Windex! Ha ha!
Last, but certainly not least, an occurrence definitely worth mentioning - I went out today by myself! Well, Ella was with me, but we went shopping on our own! I successfully navigated five roundabouts and one ginormous parking garage. Didn't get lost or get in an accident. I know how completely ridiculous I sound, given that I am an experienced accident-free driver, who has driven in many parts of the world with confidence. But, due to the fact we've only had one vehicle so far this month, and, when we've gone we have used the 'tag team' approach (meaning one reads the map and one drives the car), today was a big deal. (Side note: my earlier comments on the local drivers will help to explain my hesitancy to go solo.)
I took my handy Garmin GPS, my sweet little lady, and my wallet, and off to shop we went! Mama treated herself to three new pairs of shoes and a new outfit. I really couldn't help it. I felt as though I had to celebrate. All joking aside, I was starting to feel a bit like a caged bird. My conclusion: if I can plan our outings around the major traffic congestion times and avoid huge roundabouts until I am familiar with the roads, I think we will be just fine.
Tomorrow is TGIT and three days until my amazing mother flies half way around the world to visit us. Can't wait to see you, Mom. I have even found you a camel to ride.