Friday, February 22, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008


The bookshelves are two shelf units. We had 4 wide ones and 2 narrow ones made. Here you see 1 narrow on top of 1 wide. We now have 2 narrow on top of the wide.

The way we do business?

We had some furniture made. It's one of the benefits to living here. A guy came out to our house, we showed him some pictures, he gave us a price and he went away to produce the pieces. We had 2 bookshelves and a hope chest made. "Gary" said it would take 3 weeks but we knew it would be longer. After a month, we called and asked for a status report. He said it would be another week. Then another. About two months after we made the order, "Gary" delivered the furniture. The bookshelves were great but the hope chest had a stain in the shape of a can of paint/stain on the top, so we pointed it out to "Gary" who looked at it with a look of "what are you talking about?" on his face. We pointed to it again so he called his two workers over to look. The three men stood looking at it for about 2 minutes then spent about 5 minutes talking about it and looking over at us. Finally, Tom said "you need to fix this and I'll pay you the rest of the money when you bring it back." So the three men carried the chest back to the truck.

They brought it back about 3 weeks later. I LOVE my hope chest. I took the design of my Mom's hope chest and used the details and basic design but also asked him to add drawers to the bottom and change the feet. it's great! We had to leave it in the entry way for several days to get the stain smell out but now it is upstairs at the foot of our bed.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

China is Changing

We've been here for a little over a year and a half and things have changed a great deal. China is getting ready for the Olympics, for sure. They are planting trees and flowers and grass everywhere. We've had more blue sky days, but they are still far out numbered by the bad pollution days. China has begun to attempt to reduce waste. We now have to pay for plastic bags at the grocery store but the store has distributed cloth bags for our use. There are still massive piles of litter all over the place but it's a step in the right direction.

Another way that China is changing is the prices. Prices are going up everywhere, including our little grocery store. I've noticed that, pretty much across the board, the numbers on the stickers are higher. Juice is 1.5 kuai higher, from about $1.20 per litre to $1.40 per litre. Soup has gone from 49 cents per cup to 63 cents per cup. String cheese from Australia has gone from $2.50 per 4 pack to $3.33 per 4 pack. It's a little here and a little there, but it adds up, especially when you figure in the falling value of our dollar. Also, the local merchants are raising prices on the things I've posted about in the past, such as tablecloths and porcelain.

I know I've posted about our local grocery store but it occurred to me recently that while I am sorry to see prices rising, I am very grateful to have the store in our area. We have the BIG grocery store about a mile away and the little grocery store at the clubhouse in our compound. It's funny, though, to think about shopping back home at the huge grocery stores. Our little grocery store would fit in the bakery section of our store back home and our BIG grocery store would fit in the produce/deli section of our store back home-- twice!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Zeke and Ayi

Last year, when I told Xing Ayi we were expecting a baby, she actually jumped for joy. Here she is when she came to the hospital to meet Zeke.

It's been great so far. She's a huge help, as always. It's so nice to be able to just enjoy the baby and the older boys and not worry about all the housework piling up.

She's great with Zeke. She has a good way of settling him when he cries and I can see she really loves to be with him. She speaks Chinese to him and gave him a Chinese name. Tom will do a posting to explain the name soon.

China Aviation Museum

Here are the boys today. They went to the "airplane museum" with Tom and his parents. It was about 20 degrees but they had fun.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Huck and Ayi

Ayi picked Huck up from school the other day and on the way home they stopped at the grocery store. Inside the grocery store is a toy store and when Huck walked by it, he asked his beloved ayi if they could go and look. While there, he spotted a spiderman toy he must have. She told him he had to ask Mommy.

When they got home, he was very excited and proceeded to tell me about the toy and ask if we could go get it. When I said "no," he, of course, asked "why not?" I explained that we'd just had xmas and Chanukah and soon it would be his birthday and he would get more presents then. He began to cry a very sad cry which went on for a little while, at which point the ayi said, "don't cry Huck, don't cry. Maybe Mommy can get this toy for you now and then not another toy for a long time." She wanted me to give in to the crying so Huck wouldn't be sad.

It's nice that she is so attached to him and doesn't want him to be sad, but it's difficult to teach lessons when she gives in to every whim of our kids! When I am not around, there's nothing I can do about it but when I am right there, I have to draw the line. I explained the situation to her, telling her if we give in now that next time would be worse, but I doubt it had any effect.

Oh well!