Monday, July 21, 2008

The Circus

So, I could go on and on about the frustrations of the last couple of weeks, the job situation, the major (read: expensive and time consuming) car my poor husband was exhausted after only a week of this crazy new schedule, managed to complete his 35 visits 4out of 6 days - and yet was reamed out by his boss for not getting them done evryday and told he comes across like he doesn´t want to work hard. How now they want them to also include making visits between the hours of 6-11PM in hopes of finding more people at home.

But I am tired of thinking about it and feel like I´m very complainy of spirit lately.

So I am going to tell you about the circus instead.

The day the car broke down, my beloved chose not to work the rest of the day (it was broiling hot out and the idea of visiting clients by foot....). Instead, he spent a couple of hours job hunting, came home to eat, we got a few errands done....and then we went to the circus.

By the way, although he did find a couple of good leads on jobs that day, nothing has come through so far.

So, the circus. It set up in the next neighborhood over from ours, in an empty lot about the size of a gas station or corner store lot. If you bought your ticket ahead of time from the guy driving around the area with a loudspeaker, it was halfprice at only about $1.50 (American)/ticket. It seemed like a good chance to relax a little and enjoy some cheap entertainment. And it was within walking distance (a key point when carless) :)

We walked thru the entryway, handed over our tickets, and I suddenly felt like I had stepped back in time about 100 years. It was a dirt floor. Seating consisted of bleachers - literally thin planks of wood tied with rope to makeshift stands. If you had paid the premium price (I think like $5), you could sit a little closer in white plastic chairs.

The show opened with 2 girls, dressed in leotards and streamers that hung from their arms and waist, coming out and basically twirling in circles a few times to the music.

The opening act was essentially yo-yo tricks.

I think the whole operation ran with about 15 people. The first half of the show, several little boys were the stage hands for the different acts, and I wondered if they were sons of the men doing the acts and how they felt traveling with the show all the time. Then the 2nd half the show began, and those little boys were the acts, and the men who had been the acts earlier were now the stagehands!
During the break and after the show, anyone one of them could be seen selling the souveniers and snacks.

Every circus had animals, right? This one had miniature horses, and their tricks mostly consisted of walking the perimeter of the ring, and bowing when introduced.

My favorite act of the show was the clown, though. He wanted to throw knives at someone, and so came and picked someone randomly out of the audience. And trust me, the man chosen was not a plant - the looks on his face made that quite clear as we went through this experience! So, the clown and his assistents tied his arms above his head on the corkboard type thing that was the target. The clown put a ballon next to the man´s hip and started to pace off, preparing to throw a knife and break the balloon. We all knew there must be some trick here, including the poor man from the audience - I mean, this was a clown act after all! But at this point the victim, as I will call him, was starting to look pretty nervous. Then, just before the big throw, the clown has the brilliant idea to use a blindfold! He started to put it on himself, then turned and covered his victim´s face instead. And now, the big moment.....He paced off, turned and encouraged us to make a lot of noise, then quickly handed off the knife to the littlest stagehand, who ran up to the ballon and easily stuck the knife into it! Then they unblindfolded the man, so he could see that the ballon pop he heard was indeed caused by a knife arriving within inches of his body. They proceeded through this routine a couple of more times, and it was just hysterical watching the face of the poor victim each time, sure that the clown was going to hit him with one of those knives!

All in all, the show lasted about 2 hours, brought lots of laughs, and actually included a couple of impressive acts with people flying through the air or doing some amazing balancing. Of course, it also included more clowns, and a girl who could hoola-hoop like nobody´s business :)

Not bad for a cheap night´s entertainment - I only wish we would have had our nieces and nephews with us to enjoy it. And that the bleachers had been just a teensy bit more comfortable.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Prayer Request

So tell me if this doesn`t sound like a heavy enough workload...
Mon-Fri: 11ish hour workdays
Sat: 7ish hour workday
Sun: work one Sunday/month, about 8ish hours
The work includes: Driving to 28 clients´ houses (14 on Saturdays) to find out why they have not been making payments on their loan and to somehow convince them they need to start paying. Then head to the office for a couple of hours to capture all the data on the day´s work and print out what to do the next day.
This has netted us just enough to pay our bills.

That has been my dear husband´s schedule since we got married (well, for a few months before then too.)

On Tuesday, they had a staff meeting. The workload increased significantly, starting immediately. By significantly, I mean they have to make 35 visits/day Mon-Fri - a 25% increase. Saturday´s workload doubled from 14 to 28 visits. And for the rest of the month they are expected to work every single Sunday - 35 visits.

You may ask, as my husband´s coworkers did, if the increased workload equals more pay. The answer is no. You may also ask if they will be given more gasoline money (they have been receiving enough to pay for about 2/3 of the gas they actually use in a month). Again, the answer is no. So basically, my poor husband is going to put in the equivalent of an extra week to 10 days worth of work this month, and we will have less money when the month ends (because we will have to pay for all that extra gas ourselves - I`m not sure we even have the money to do that).
They were told these changes are definite for this month - there are no promises of what next month will look like.

Are you feeling our need for a breakthrough on the job front? We aren`t looking for a huge salary or anything, just enough to pay our bills with a new baby on the way and have a little bit to set aside for emergencies and such. We aren`t saying he should only work 40 hours a week, but it would be nice if he had more than 3 Sunday`s a month to rest (oh wait, he doesn`t even have that any more!). And having a boss that wasn`t constantly questioning his work ethic and integrity would be nice. One who was actually somewhat encouraging would be a huge blessing.

While I am asking for prayer, I officially entered the 3rd trimester this month, and so the decision about the how and why of the birth needs to be made pretty soon. You see, we can go to the government run hospitals and pay little to nothing (which fits our budget perfectly) - but they are generally overcrowded and understaffed, I would be expected to stay in a bed once admitted (no birth friendly position changing allowed here, nor walking), at least 3 women are put to a room, and my husband is not allowed in the room with me. An even bigger deal when you realize the language issues that could arise. (We are going to ask if the language issue would get my husband in the room with me, but it doesn`t look too likely.)

There are private hospitals, but the cost would be close to 2 months wages.

What I would really like is to have a home birth with an experienced midwife. Unfortunately, that is not common here and it is next to impossible to find midwives. The only one I have found has a prior commitment that takes her out of town every Thursday to Saturday (as in, half of the week), every week, all through September and October. And even if/when we find one, it costs a little more than a month`s wages.

So please pray for wisdom and open doors and peace in both of these major areas of our lives right now. Thanks for helping us in this way. I appreciate your friendships!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Looooong Overdue Post - including a baby update

Yes, it has been truly ages since I´ve posted. I´ve since gone home (to my family in Rochester) and come home again (to my husband here in Mexico). Without spending a lot of time making excuses for my prolonged absence, I originally thought I might get some really good posting in while in Rochester with virtually unlimited internet access. Reflecting on why that didn´t happen, I think it is because since coming to Mexico, I´ve learned to see computer time as almost entirely for the purpose of staying in touch - and since I was already spending real time with the vast majority of people I would normally be staying in touch with, I wasn´t real motivated to get online. And I just haven´t gotten on much since getting back, for a variety of uninteresting reasons.

But the trip was great - I managed to spend time with all of my immediate family as well as each of the people on my short list of ´must sees´. That sounds simple, but keep in mind that I am the oldest of 7, and not all of my siblings live in Rochester these days. And coordinating the time to see them around the ´must sees´ busy schedules - I was glad I had kept my goal relatively simple and that I did in fact accomplish it. My apologies to those I wasn´t able to spend time with. I would have liked to, but there was only so much time to go around.

Otrgirl has written at different times about the energy it takes to keep up relationships long-distance. I must say that as good as it was to see everyone, it was also a bit exhausting at times. Of course, being pregnant might also have played a role in my tiredness.

I had lots of people ask me if it was weird to be back, but it was my home for the first 29 years of my life. It was just being home, being with family.

The biggest cultural observation that tickled me - how well trained Americans are to never touch a pregnant woman´s belly, at least without asking first. Here in Mexico, everyone touches my belly. It is often a part of their greeting or good-bye to me- an affectionate belly rub. I am one of those women who don´t actually mind at all, so that works. I´m not sure what it would look like if an American woman that hated belly touching moved to Mexico. But anyways, it was just funny to me to watch everyone´s restraint.

My final note on the trip home is that I missed my husband like crazy and was quite happy to find myself back hom with him when all was said and done.

As for the baby, we went for a check-up last Wednesday - my first visit in almost 2 months. After gaining only 3 pounds the first 4 1/2 months, this visit I had gained 11 pounds!! Guess I am all caught up on weight gain. Otherwise, baby and I both checked out as healthy and on target. The big news was finally getting a clear look at the baby´s gender. Remember this quote:
He said it is still a little early to be sure, and so he`d say he is abotu 80% certain that it is a..... boy! My beloved is thrilled, as he has been hoping for a boy since the beginning, and walked in the clouds the whole rest of the day :) For me it isn`t so important if we have a boy or girl, but it is fun to start thinking more specifically about who is inside of me, and to be able to use his name, etc. Don`t worry, though - we are both well aware that the Dr wasn`t sure, and are waiting for future ultrasounds to confirm. it turns out....the baby is actually a girl! So we had a couple of days of getting our mindset turned around, and now are thinking carefully about the names we didn´t think we´d be using yet :)

Ok, gotta run. But coming fest! My sister gave me a memory card reader, so I think I should be able to easily load pics now :)