I can't think of a title

We bought our TV and DVD player today.  Not as if 1080p and all the other crap that goes along with buying a TV isn't confusing enough - let's add in that it must be a multi-region TV that will accept the signals in Africa (I have NO clue how this works but I am told that a regular old $500 TV purchased in the United States will not play in Africa).  We also had to buy a multi-region DVD player which costs a heck of a lot more than a regular DVD player, but when in Rome....(or Nigeria).

I was also told today that I use way too many commas in my writing.  My dear mother told me my grammatical skills are lacking and my husband told me I write like I talk - with way too many run-on sentences.  To them I say this is a blog, not a term paper.  GFY.

In addition to these purchases, we also have to buy transformers, converters, adapters, power continuation devices - apparently all in all this is going to cost another $600-$700.  What a crock of shit.  Oh, hey, you're moving to Africa, and if you want any of your electronic devices to work while you're there, you have to buy these transformers - on your own dime.  Not that the State Dept. doesn't pay for quite a bit of stuff to make our lives easier in Abuja, but as far as I'm concerned, three transformers for a whole house of electronic devices is beyond insufficient.  I mean just off the top of my head how many things do we own that need to be plugged in: coffee maker, toaster, vacuum, blow-dryer, toothbrush charger, phone chargers (2), computer, TV, DVD player, water boiler, alarm clock - and that's not all-inclusive.  So the three transformers provided by the State Dept are really going to go far.  So we have to buy more of those and we have to buy this power continuation device for all of the times when our power goes out and switches to our generator (which is thankfully provided but you'd think that since its so common for this to happen and it apparently ruins your electronics, they would provide this power continuation thingy) and we have to buy enough of these things to cover all of our electronic things and all of these things and things to keep our things nice are starting to cost a lot of freaking money!  I just really think that since they're sending us to live in Africa for two years it would be nice to equip us with everything we need to live there.  Thank God we saved money before we started this job, because if we hadn't, I really don't think a pay advance would be enough to cover all these little incidental expenses that are adding up to be quite a lot of money.  I mean its not like we already have to buy two years worth of consumables (I worked on our Excel spreadsheet today and it has 181 items.  Seriously every non-perishable (but still natural/non-processed) food item you can think of, every cleaning supply and every bit of toiletries you might need for two years - that's going to cost probably three or four grand - why not add another $600 or $700 of electronic conversion devices on top of it.  We're made of money. 

Anyway,  Lizzie is coming in two days and I can't wait to see her!  Also, she's never been to DC before so we have a ton of really cool things scheduled for her, including a tour of the Capitol (which I've never been inside either), the Archives, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, Arlington National Cemetery and much more.  We also have planned a small Thanksgiving dinner for the three of us.  Okay its not really small because not one of us is willing to compromise on our favorite Thanksgiving food, so we are probably going to be eating leftovers until we leave for Abuja since only three of us will be eating turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn casserole, green bean casserole, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and cranberry sorbet.  I wish I was exaggerating...

On a funny note, on Saturday while we were in etiquette class Joey volunteered to be the dining guinea pig.  He sat down at the imaginary dinner and our teacher told him to pretend to eat steak "American style."  With a quizzical look (do you know the difference between American and Continental styles of eating), he picked up the fork and knife and attempted to eat his imaginary steak.  Our teacher was horrified.

"No!" She exclaimed.

I thought that at this point in the class it would be hilarious to interject.  "Welcome to my life," I sarcastically said.  This elicited many laughs from the classroom.

Today, one of Joey's friends who also happened to be in our etiquette class told him that when I remarked on Joey's American style eating skills, another woman in the class leaned over to her and asked, "Do you think they have a good marriage?"  Hahahaha! Get a sense of humor.  Either that or if you can't joke about your spouse take a look at your own marriage.


  1. Delurking to share what our experience has been with electricals and transformers overseas. We treated ourselves to a few new dual-voltage items, like hair dryers, my curling iron, chargers for our iPods and such. Dual voltage appliances totally rock!

    Our biggest transformer stays with our desktop computer. We plug it and all peripherals into a powerbar that is itself plugged into the transformer. We have a smaller transformer that lives in the kitchen. Whenever we want to use the mixer, coffee maker, etc., we just plug that particular item in. Transformers run very hot and I wasn't comfortable leaving things plugged into it all day that didn't need to be plugged in all day.

    We have another small "roaming" transformer that is called into service whenever we want re-charge my daughter's Nintendo DS, use my sewing machine, or turn on the Christmas lights in December.

    We were able to buy a lot of other electricals (blender, toaster, iron) from other families departing our locale that were already the correct voltage. The electical shop where we bought the transformers advised us of three things that I took to heart: 1) Things that heat up generally don't run well off of transformers, so we bought a microwave and iron (that one second-hand) in the correct voltage when we arrived, 2) Computer printers sometimes don't work with transformers (we had one that did, one that didn't), and 3) It is hard on motors to run through a transformer, so I am sort of grinch about using my Kitchenaid mixer these days.

    On final thing - I could have bought transformers from families departing this location, second-hand, rather than hauling them across the ocean. Those things are heavy, and took up a disproportionate amount of our weight allowance for things that weren't very large!

  2. It's also worth getting educated about wattage issues... Keep in mind that you can use a power strip to plug multiple items into the same converter, as long as the total wattage in use at any particular time doesn't exceed the maximum capacity. In my experience, the Embassy gives you only a few converters, but they are hefty, high-capacity units. I have usually been able to get away with one per main room - bedroom, kitchen, living room, etc.

  3. I think I learned a new acronym today, GFY. P.S., I'll email you soon about my new job :)

  4. I did NOT say you used too many commas. What I said was I felt you could benefit from some remedial grammatical work. I feel you don't use enough commas or semicolons, and not always appropriately - as most people.

    Here is a bit more information on that subject:

    Some amateur writers, for instance, seem to think sprinkling commas every few words is a good rule, but it makes for difficult reading. A few places commas should be avoided:
    • After the CONJUNCTIONS and, but, and or, unless the comma sets off a phrase that can't stand alone as a sentence. It's wrong to write "But, she did get it done on time." Use the comma only if there's such a phrase, as in, "But, to be fair, she did get it done on time." See also DEPENDENT VERSUS INDEPENDENT CLAUSES.
    • Between a month and year in a date: not November, 1990, but November 1990. The comma stops two sets of numerals from running into one another, as in November 20, 1990.
    • Some style guides call for omitting the comma after very short prepositional phrases at the beginning of a sentence: not "On Saturday, the office is closed," but "On Saturday the office is closed." But do use a comma after long prepositional phrases or dependent clauses: "Because the entire epic is concerned with justifying the ways of God to man, Milton must present free will in a positive light." (How many words do you need before "short" turns into "long"? — trust your judgment, and think always about clarity.)
    Finally, the thorniest comma-related question, whether or not to include the serial comma (also known as the Oxford comma or Harvard comma from its inclusion in their house style guides). In most HOUSE STYLES, the comma is preferred before the last item in a list: "the first, second, and third chapters." Leaving it out — "the first, second and third chapters" — is a habit picked up from journalism. While it saves a teensy bit of space and effort, omitting the final comma runs the risk of suggesting the last two items (in the example above, the second and third chapters) are some sort of special pair. A famous (and perhaps apocryphal?) dedication makes the danger clear: "To my parents, Ayn Rand and God."
    The semicolon has only two common uses. The first is to separate the items in a list, often after a COLON, especially when the listed items contain commas: "The following books will be covered on the midterm: the Odyssey, through book 12; Ovid's Metamorphoses, except for the passages on last week's quiz; and the selections from Chaucer." The semicolon makes it clear that there are three items, whereas using commas to separate them could produce confusion.

    The other legitimate use of a semicolon is to separate two INDEPENDENT CLAUSES in one sentence: "Shakespeare's comedies seem natural; his tragedies seem forced." Here's how to tell whether this one is appropriate: if you can use a period and begin a new sentence, you can use a semicolon. In other words, this kind of semicolon can always be replaced by a period and a capital letter. In the example, "Shakespeare's comedies seem natural. His tragedies seem forced" is correct, so a semicolon can be used. (If you used a comma here — "Shakespeare's comedies seem natural, his tragedies seem forced" — you'd be committing the sin of COMMA SPLICE.)

    That isn't to say I don't enjoy your writing; I do! I find it to be very entertaining! :o) (Did you notice the proper use of a semicolon?!)

  5. Hey, I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but I'm delurking to say - at every post we've ever been, State has always provided transformers. Always. If you haven't bought them yet, check with the CLO. They're heavier than you can imagine, and you don't want to fill up your shipment with them. Adaptors we usually buy locally, and they're pretty cheap. Again, check with CLO before you buy. But you must buy a multi-system TV so it'll work in the States and overseas.

    Hope this helps!