Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother´s Day

Sunday was Mother’s Day.  We aren´t very good with holidays that don´t fall on the same date every year, so we discovered this by accident.  My mom casually mentioned it the day before; we promptly forgot.  Then we learned this fact again when we called Erik’s mom on Sunday.  (Nice save, Papillon!)  And, as I am also a mother (insert joke here), my family quickly rallied around me, made me delicious food, showered me with gifts, and otherwise spoiled me for the whole day.

Don’t be ridiculous.  Here on Papillon, we have Jobs To Do.  There is no time for coddling.  So Stylish made me a lovely book about our family, I got innumerable hugs and kisses from the girls, and I managed to carve out twenty minutes in the morning to read my book and eat corn chips and salsa.  And, as is traditional on Mother’s Day, we had an outing.  Not a go-for-a-picnic outing.  An oh-my-god-we-aren’t-going-to-see-a-store-for-six-months-what-do-we-still-need outing.  Which meant a trip to my least favorite place.

The mall.

I hate shopping.  It is boring, I’m bad at it, and spending money in an overly air-conditioned space with hundreds of other people makes me cranky.  If it isn’t a bookstore, I’m not interested, and even then I’d rather have Amazon deliver things to my house.  In fact, if I could get everything delivered – food, clothing, everything – I would. If I didn’t have to pick it out myself, that would be even better, but I think I would have to be a little further along the wealth curve to manage that.

Job one: a new computer.  I haven’t posted lately just because of the extra-poor internet here.  It is mainly because our Lenovo developed a fan error and decided not to boot any more.  As it turns out, this is a common ThinkPad problem.  At home, I would have taken the computer to be repaired, grouched at the three days it was gone, then taken my newly-repaired machine home, happy with the world.  Here, we fixed it ourselves as many times as we could, then Erik went to twenty-five computer shops and repair guys, only to find that Lenovo does not have a presence Panama.  So, no replacement fan.  Cue a cry for help to my dad and one of my brothers… because, of course, the fan-selling people want a credit card with a US billing address.  Ugh.  But a new fan is now winging its way to our shipping agent in Florida, who will get it to us a week from Wednesday as long as it arrives on their premises by this Wednesday.  And then we can install it ourselves.  Sadly, we now know the inside of the Lenovo pretty well, so we can do it.  Self reliance, people!

But if we are getting a new fan, why the new computer?  Plan B, friends, plan B.  Because do we all trust that the fan problem will forever and always be solved?  We do not.  Assuming we fix the Lenovo, the new Acer will be strictly for our navigation software.   Because not having to navigate the Pacific solely via paper charts and a sextant would be a plus, I think.

The most interesting part of buying the computer came after purchase.  We tried to leave the store, but were instead directed up the back stairs into a windowless room.  Apparently, one must endure a quality check before leaving.  So we waited and waited, then a young associated opened up the computer, turned it on, and made sure it booted.  He seemed a little bemused when we proceeded to try the speakers and the optical drive – I mean, we had the thing on anyway.  Why not check it thoroughly?  All was in place.  Now I just need to get used to this Spanish-style keyboard, which is almost but not exactly like the English model.  The question mark is in the wrong place, CTRL-A saves your document and I have to press the ALT GR key, whatever that is, to find @.  The hardships of life.

Okay, computer – check.  Next, walkie-talkies.  One of the key requirements to enjoying coral reef-infested Pacific islands is not running aground on said reefs.  So we are going to make some rat lines, and yours truly is going to have to climb up to and sit on the spreaders when we navigate in and out of these places.  (And yes, I’ll wear a harness and be very safe, I promise.)  Since my hearing is middling-to-poor, I get to send instructions via walkie-talkie.  I am already having cold sweats about leading us into a blind alley, the coral reaching out and punching holes in our hull, the zooxanthellae swarming Papillon and dragging us down to a watery grave.  Shiver. 

Clothes.  My dear spouse, whom I found wedged in a tiny closet yesterday as he tried to fish wires for the new solar panels, has achieved catastrophic failure on all of his work shorts and most of his shirts.  He was positively indecent.  We found a department store, I left him in the men’s section, and the girls and I went to find them new bathing suits.

Good points of Panamanian department stores: very cheap (clothes <$5 often), very big.  Bad point: totally disorganized.  Anything related to men or boys was fine, in that it was confined to a single geographic location.  Sure, racks were set out randomly: shirts here, shorts there, some socks, then more shirts.  But there was only one place to look.

Not so for girls and women.  Their clothing was sprinkled throughout the three levels of the store.  The only well-organized section was ladies’ intimates, and it was so big I nearly got lost.  I’ve never seen so many fancy-patterned underpants.  It took half an hour to locate the women’s bathing suits, and I never did find the girls’.  Very frustrating.

We stayed long enough at the mall, gathering flip-flops and other essentials, that we decided to eat.  Little did we realize that a full-blown Disney show was going on.  Aladdin, a generic prince and all of the princesses sang and danced, and cavorted about a stage in the middle of the food court.  Lights flashed, music boomed, and the crowd munched through their McDonald’s and KFC as Ariel shimmied in her shiny mermaid-tail spandex pants.  American culture at work.

Thoroughly exhausted, we stumbled home with our bags of New Stuff and fell into bed.  I know I have to go back for a last grocery run, and I never did find bathing suits for the girls, but I sincerely hope that is it.  When one of you creates an everything-you-need delivery system with minimal user involvement, you be sure to let me know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well lovey, better you than me in the Big Mall. That is why I have the delivery box placed outside the front door!
Maybe you will discover an interesting open market for the bathing suits like we did in Cartagena.
Love Mom