Flies at the Picnic


You may be wondering why I haven’t written a single word on this blog in several weeks.  It has to do with a recent series of events that have pretty much sapped the creative energy from my daily routine.  A combination of work, fall colds, and domestic disturbances has shaken the very foundation of my blogging enthusiasm.  The first two, work and sickness are self-explanatory.  The third requires a bit of hyperbolic elaboration.

My apartment is a dusty ruin where bags of concrete, plaster and shoddy Central European construction work go to die.  In the six years we’ve lived in this apartment, we’ve had the ceilings repaired three times.  Each time it is the same.  We move all of our stuff, they come in and throw dust and spew paint fumes around the place and don’t even mop before they leave.  But there is an added bonus this time.  They’re “fixing” the whole house.  Every dang room is sporting furniture draped with plastic.  Plastic water bottles of laborers litter the floor along with boot prints that are grinding the pumice into the thin wood veneer.  Super.

So now, we’re living like the Taliban in an apartment one building over.  There’s no media center, no Internet access and four channels of Czech TV on what appears to be a four-inch TV screen with speakers the size of pennies.  I moved 8 external hard drives out of my apartment for Pete’s sake.  We’re a family that likes its tech and we aren’t getting our fix.

We’re reading and playing games to the biggest extent possible but there are only so many rounds of Disney’s Princess Matching Game you can play before you really come to despise Belle and Jasmine.  Not to mention, it’s raining.  Constantly.  The end of summer is raising its middle finger to our family as boredom creeps in with each passing sunset.

Cooking exciting meals is out of the question as the kitchen is poorly equipped distinctly not ours.  Their knives don’t work either.  (Mrs. NH made a good batch of lasagna, however.)

And it’s not just Mrs. NH and I that are cranky about the situation.  Little NH is peeved as she’s ever been.  We could only schlep some of her toys over and she’s 3.  Some of you may know that the three-year-old attention span often requires hundreds of toys in a day.  The weather has also completely spoiled her recent interest in playing soccer in the grass outside.  Who can blame her?

Consequently, tantrums have become more frequent.  She doesn’t like the bed she’s sleeping in and comes into our room several times a night for hugs, water, and things like, “Um, well, I forgot.”  So add full family sleep deprivation to the equation.

So there are three really bad attitudes hanging around Prague these days.  We all know that we’re extremely fortunate and that things could be much worse.  Dinnertime grace always reflects this.  But what good is a blog if you can’t do some bellyaching.

So, to remedy the situation, we’re hitting the road again.  To where, we don’t know.  It also is dependent on the local Czech mechanic fixing the catalytic converter on my near-antique Jetta.  But I figure, living like you’re on the run should be a whole lot more interesting if we’re at least, well, on the road.

We’re determined to snap out of this rut of inconsequential but annoying spurts of daily bad news.  Like I said, lots of people have it much worse.  But the feeling is akin to flies showing up to nibble on the potato salad at the picnic.  Not to mention, I left the damn fly swatter in the other apartment.

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