Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Mystery of the Holey Shirts

I'm not sure how long after our arrival here that I started noticing this problem, but it wasn't long. Maybe a couple of months... weeks even.
I was only slightly annoyed at first. I would discover a tiny hole in a shirt and ponder for a moment how it may have gotten there. Then I would chalk it up to catching the material on something or a faulty stitch, and move on.
But eventually I started to notice that it wasn't just an old college t-shirt of C's (one of many that I have taken ownership of over the years) or a long standing work out shirt. I started seeing little holes appear in more and more shirts as time passed. My favorite silk blend blouse, my black short sleeve goes-perfect-with-anything top... the list kept growing.
After many months, I decide one night to mention this strange phenomenon to C. He wrinkles his brow at me. He hasn't noticed any holes in his shirts. So I dig in my closet and show him. Evidence. He takes a hard look and we discuss the possible causes. Moths? Our washing machine? Thin materials? Are there even moths in the desert? And how in the world does a moth find its way into your home/drawers/closets and selectively munch on your favorite shirts? (Clearly this was only a tiny possibility).
More research was needed. This took time and more observation was necessary.
The facts were slowly gathered:
  1. The tiny little holes were all in the exact same location on every one of my shirts. All in the front, slightly below the bellybutton area.
  2. C and E did not have any holes in any of their clothes. Not even one.
  3. None of my shirts that got holes in them shared the same fabric type nor were they purchased from the same store.
So I turned into a bit of a conspiracy theorist. I became a tad obsessed with this whole hole thing. I needed to get to the bottom of it before I went nuts. Someone or something was out to drive me crazy. And this is just the kind of thing that could drive a person to the edge, right?
I meticulously examined the insides of both our washer and dryer. I looked for any rough edge or jagged bit. C just shook his head when he walked in our laundry room and caught me with my melon inside the barrel of our washing machine, softly muttering expletives. No, the machines couldn't be the problem. Easy conclusion - how on earth could the material of only my shirts (not pants, socks, undies, etc) get caught up and torn? Had to move on from that one.
Perhaps it was the way the stores here tagged their clothes for sale? Maybe my shirts had all been victims of some pricing gun or security tag that had been placed in the same spot in each store? Maybe a national standard?  A cruel joke played on innocent female shoppers? I knew this was probably unlikely, but no stone was to be left unturned.
Next, I went to my vehicle. After thoroughly checking the lining of all seat belts in my truck, I had ruled out that I could have acquired it while driving buckled up...  sigh.
WHY was this happening?
But wait - BINGO. I had it.
(Or so I thought).
It was me! All this time and it was ME .
The light went off one morning when I was getting dressed.
I was doing this to myself. Must be it.
Self-inflicting this critical loss of clothing. Seemed unlikely, but it had to be. There was no other way.
'Thank goodness I figured this one out', I thought to myself, as I was starting to replace shirts at an alarming rate.
How had I never noticed such a thing? What kind of fool zips herself into her pants when getting dressed? A huge fool, that's who. Shame. Pure shame.
So effective immediately, my dressing habits dramatically changed.
I took great and elaborate care when dressing. No longer did I put my shirt on first (I don't know what all of you do, but I start from the top after the undies are in place). Now I was a dedicated
pants-first-putter-on-er. If *gasp*  by chance, I forgot to go pants first, I would gently roll up and tuck my shirt under my chin while I pulled up and zipped/fastened/buckled/clasped my bottoms.
My husband thought I was losing my mind. He would just stand and stare at me (and not in a sexy way) while I made my moves. He just didn't understand, as he wasn't the one being plagued by this holey demon. I was going to do what I had to do to save my precious shirts.
But, it wouldn't be a worthwhile blog post to say that was that and be done with it.
Noooo.... you know whats coming next.
The holes continued.
Mocking me with every new discovery. This was eating me alive, starting with my shirts first. What the h*ll was happening?
Then one date night, as we were both in our room getting ready, I pulled on a shirt from my closet and looked in the mirror.
Two tiny little holes with white stomach skin peeking through them like two miniature eyes staring back at me in the mirror.
Taunting me. Laughing at me.
I had had it. I stripped the shirt off me like it was on fire. I proceeded to our office in bra and skirt, ranting about the holes. There was nothing else to do, so I Googled it. Some other poor soul out there somewhere must have been tormented by this same freakish moth that only munched holes in their shirts in one certain area. I needed to find that person and get the remedy.
What lit up my screen in the following seconds made me sing with joy. There were dozens of sites about this phenomenon. Hundreds of comments. Normal people with mysterious holes. People being driven mad just like me. A wave of relief washed over me. I wasn't crazy after all. I hadn't been having geriatric episodes of zippering myself into my own pants and not remembering doing it.
I read and read and read. Several bloggers also dedicated posts to this problem... it is just THAT important.
Guess what it was?
The counters in my kitchen. (Those *&#@#er  #&^$er's.) I am basically the only cook in our family these days, and since moving here I have spent the last couple of years really embracing cooking most of our meals.  Heaps of time in our kitchen.
Everyone online had said the same thing in their comments -- they spent lots of time at a counter or table made from a material (marble, wood, or granite like ours) with a rough or unfinished underside. The contact with whatever shirt I wore with the edge of the counter must have been enough friction to cause small pulls in my shirts, which in time, became little holes.
I fly down our stairs (still half dressed) to confirm. E X A C T L Y the height of the holes in my clothes.  The underside of our counter was rough and unfinished. Wowsers. Mystery solved.

The fix, you ask?  ... An apron (which I used to forget to put on when cooking) and a conscious effort not to lean against our counters when working. I have also found that cooking with heels on (as a few sites suggested) was perfect too, except I am not the kind of girl to cook in heels, really.
Apron it is. Fixed! Eureka! This fool is a holey fool no more.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

We Came, We Saw, We Ate

We recently went on a whirlwind trip to Milan, Italy. If you remember my ramblings from last year, you will recall how I grumbled a bit from time to time about being left here in Qatar while my husband globe trotted here and there for business. It's not that I mind being alone - I really don't - I was just a little green around the gills at the places he was getting to visit that I was 'missing out on'.
(wine was not hers...
her father thought it would be a 'funny' shot)
Around our house we call that FOMO Syndrome... Fear Of Missing Out... and I get it bad sometimes.
Spring was in the air
So, when my darling C announced that he would be on a conference in Milan this March, well, you know I wasn't missing that ship when it sailed.
I promised myself that this year I would start flying with Ella again. Last year's devastating solo trip to Canada left me feeling like I wasn't going to do that again any time soon (soon = ever again). But my FOMO on Milan was greater than my air-travel-with-a-toddler fears, so we booked us some tickets. 
pizza with 'bow' was for E from the chef

C was good about it... I know he probably secretly looks forward to a couple of sleep ins, room service, and drinks after work with friends, but he was open to us tagging along, so along we tagged.

Milan was in full spring bloom when we arrived, and the weather couldn't have been more beautiful. For five days, E and I walked the streets, visited tourist attractions, shopped a little... but mostly... mostly, we ATE.

As they say, what is in the cat is in the kitten... my deep love for Italian food must have seeped into my little kitten's body sometime before birth. Everything we ate was fresh, flavorful, and delicious.
best lunch spot ever
We didn't talk much during our breakfasts and lunches together... we just sat in happy silence as we munched on scrumptious food and sloshed fresh juice.
Pure happiness served three times a day.
Dinners were better as C was with us. There were also a few friends from Doha in town, so we all had evening meals together a few times - great friends to add to the great food. Viva Milano!

And here comes Italy, Round 2 later this week. Family vacation time! I can already taste it.