Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

Posts Tagged ‘Dubai

COVID-19 Distance-learning: Day 4

leave a comment »

DS has discovered Zoom. I’ve no idea what witchery this is and prefer to keep it that way, but Zoom appears to mean that my boy can fill his iPad screen with the happy little faces of his classmates and chat with them about all the things that fill their 11-year-old boots with joy. Fortnite, obviously, and what they want from the Item Shop, and Minecraft and Tik Tok and crushes and how boring the Shakespeare English project is, I imagine, not that I’ve been listening in. Not at all.

            And I have to admit, it appears to be a wonderful thing. They’ve had a little pet show where they’ve paraded their pets for each other; I think there may have been a dance-off involving Renegade (if you’re that way inclined, you can learn it here); I’ve heard rumours of a talent show… and today I found DS video-chatting with a girl in his class as they did their maths together. Props to the switched-on class mum who got them all interacting in these strange times. 

            But, of course, I’m not used to having a son videoconferencing at the dining table. Oh no I’m not. 

            ‘Mummy,’ DS said today as I pottered about the kitchen singing along to that self-isolating version of ‘I Will Survive’ that’s gone viral. ‘Mummy, you do know everyone can hear you?’ 

            So, of course I went over to say hello to DS’s friends. 

            ‘Hi!’ I said, waving happily from behind his head and doing a little dance move of my own. Tik-Tok-famous, here I come!

            ‘Who’s that?’ asked a lovely girl who’s in our house so often I sometimes think she might actually be my own daughter (she’s not).

            ‘It’s my mum,’ DS said in a resigned tone, and then I caught sight of my image on his screen: post-exercise hair, no make-up, dark eye bags accentuated by the dreadful angle, several more chins than I thought would ever be possible on a human face, and a strangely grey skin tone – I should be glad his friend didn’t associate that face with the, cough, ‘real’ me.

            ‘Enjoy maths!’ I chirped, diving off the screen as fast as I could while DS shook his head sadly at me.

            ‘Oh, Mummy,’ he said. ‘You’re really going to have to learn to stay away when I’m on a call.’

Phrase of the day:

‘Mummy, you’re good at English. Can you give me five ambitious conjunctions?’

At the moment we’re reading:

Land of Stories (Book 2) – The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer

Those People by Louise Candlish (not far to go now)

Save The Cat by Blake Snyder 

COVID-19 Distance-learning: Day 2

leave a comment »

There was a certain calmness in the household today. DH was in charge of the morning alarm and, as I slapped him awake at 7.50am thinking we’d overslept by a couple of hours, he admitted he’d only set it for 8.00! Eight o’clock! 

Honestly, I can remember when we last woke at 8am on a school day – and, for sure, I had a lot more oestrogen and a lot less grey hair and back then. It was back when DD – now pretty much 15 – was two-and-a-half years old and still wearing twirly skirts and sparkly shoes (not Lelli-Kellys but that’s a whole different blog).

In fact, I’d thought her nursery teacher was pranking us when she suggested with a smile that we got the babies into nursery by 8am in order to prepare them for ‘big school’ which, over here, starts at 7.45am. I’d probably laughed and nudged her in the ribs – ‘Good one! Haha ha!’ – but no. There was no pranking and, ever since that dreadful day, we’ve been getting up at six. School holidays mean a lie-in till seven – so what in God’s name was DH thinking setting both the alarm and the coffee-maker for 8am? Oh, that’s right: he was Working From Home too. Ye gods, this COVID-19 has a lot to answer for.

DS was unfazed as we trundled down the stairs way later than usual. 

‘I can do my learning whenever I want,’ he said without looking up from his killing spree on Fortnite. ‘The stuff’s posted at 9.00 but I’ve got till 4.00 to do it, so…’ 

One shoulder shrugged in that annoying way Tweens have and, as I stood there looking at him, I realised that this was an Important Moment.

This, my friends, was a slippery slope and, I was teetering at the top of it, right at the start of Day 2.

It was a slope that could, by Thursday, result in DS spending the next sixty years, or however long we’re going to be socially isolating, lying on the sofa all day playing Fortnite and WWE wrestling and racing supercars on Forza whatever else Tweeny things he does, then bashing through his entire day’s curriculum in the frantic minutes between 3.50 and 4.00. 

I could see it happening. I could so see it happening. 

I pictured his teacher and tried to channel her no-nonsense approach. 

‘No,’ I said. ‘Maths, English, science and PE before lunch. Languages after. My way or the highway.’

And you know what… bar a ‘headache’ during Arabic, that’s exactly what happened.

Phrase of the day:

‘Can I have more V-Bucks?’

At the moment we’re reading:

Land of Stories (Book 2) – The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer

Those People by Louise Candlish (still).

The garden today. There are worse places to socially isolate.

There’s lentils in the biscuits aisle

with one comment

It’s clear as soon as we reach the supermarket that something’s wrong. People are wandering around looking dazed and confused. By the kitchen roll, there’s a woman in tears, her shopping list hanging useless from her hand. A man dashes past. His eyes are panicky and his gaze sweeps left and right, searching – searching for what? Has there been an atrocity at the butcher’s counter; a cereal killer in the breakfast aisle?

'Take me to the crisps!'

‘Where are the crisps?’

I’m just about to call the children and suggest we leave, but then I realise what’s happened: the supermarket’s changed its shelves around. Not only is nothing where it used to be, but even the aisles themselves have moved, and nothing in the new regime makes sense.

You come out from cleaning products and go straight into cereal bars. There are lentils in the biscuits aisle, tinned tuna alongside breakfast cereal. It’s as if the shop staff threw everything in the air and let it fall randomly onto the shelves.

Heaven forbid they actually intended to shelve the goods like this. I can just imagine the planning meeting:

‘Where shall we put the tinned tomatoes? With the ketchup, pizza sauce and tomato paste?’

A burst of laughter.  ‘Where’s the fun in that?’

I hate it. I’m a creature of habit. I write my shopping list in the order in which I’ll find the stuff around the shop; now, I just wander around feeling lost and go home with 50% of my list.  But there have been benefits to the new layout: 1) My step count’s gone through the roof, and 2) It’s been three weeks and I still haven’t found the chocolate.

Written by mrsdubai

October 11, 2015 at 8:06 pm

The lovey-dovey real estate developer

with 2 comments

We often get messages from the property developer that originally built and now maintains our community.

Aww, shucks, Emaar

Aww, shucks, Emaar

Ramadan Mubarak. Eid Mubarak. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Happy Diwali. It’s sweet how inclusive it tries to be.

But today, for the first time in 10 years, I saw a post-summer message. And it made me smile. It’s good to be back.

Written by mrsdubai

August 31, 2015 at 6:26 pm

Who’s ready for school?

with one comment

Like most parents, I’m trying not to skip about the house singing as we look down the barrel of the new school term. Yes, my lovelies, after 10 weeks off, my little angels go back to school tomorrow.

Tomorrow!

Are you ready? I am!

I don’t mean mentally. I’ve been mentally ready for school for the last four weeks. What I mean is that I’ve done all the necessary back-to-school prep to get the kids off to their classrooms with suitably stuffed pencil cases and spanking new lunch boxes and water bottles, as well as kitted out in school uniform that’s correct, fits and is labelled.

And please, non-parents, don’t underestimate how much effort that takes, from the tedious “trying on” of old uniform (budget at least half a day if you’ve got an uncooperative wriggler) to the sizing of the new uniform, wherein the sizes printed in the clothes bear absolutely no resemblance to the sizes of the actual clothes meaning your child has to struggle in and out of four different PE shirts labelled anything from age 6 to age 14 in a room with an ambient temperature of about 56C (or maybe that’s just our school’s uniform supplier).

And that’s before we negotiate the social minefield that is admitting on Facebook that you’re ironing in the name labels as opposed to sewing them in tiny backstitch. Yeah. Hands up to that one.

"Dahling! Did you see her  nails? Dis. Gust. Ing!"

“And, daaahling, did you see her nails? Simply Dis. Gust. Ing!”

We’ve also come up with a tick-box menu for daily packed lunches; we’ve baked “pizza rolls” for the days when sandwiches are just too “meh”; and we’ve pre-made batches of morning pancakes. We’ve shopped for snacks and agreed that, for one fussy eater (I’m looking at you, DS), school lunch is the only way to go (never mind about that camo-print lunch box I lugged back from the States in my handbag!).

It’s fair to say – it really is – that we’re ready for school.

But then I look in the mirror and realise that, in all the prep, I’ve overlooked one thing.

My toenails.

In the rush of sorting out the children – in the excitement of getting them back to school – I’ve overlooked my pedicure.

My toenails are pale. They are unvarnished. They are in their August resting state. They may be neat, but they are as bare as the day I was born. This, in the circles of Dubai school mothers, is social kamikaze. What woman allows herself to be seen within the school grounds without at least two coats of TITO’s London Calling? DH, my love, my sweet… you’re on drop-off duty.

Written by mrsdubai

August 29, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

Dubai lift etiquette

with 2 comments

  1. Always push both the UP and DOWN buttons to summon the lift. Sure, the first lift that stops may not be going in your direction but at least you can while away the minutes saying ‘Going up? Oh no. I want down’ to a lift full of (irritated) strangers.
  2. 'You're going up? What are the chances? I need down.'

    ‘You’re going up? What are the chances? I need down.’

    Always remember that there’s no such thing as a full lift. People are squashed in like sardines? Shove a little harder – if they got in, you deserve to be in, too!

  3. Don’t, whatever you do, wear deodorant.
  4. When you’re first into a lift with people following, don’t move to the back. You might not be able to get out!
  5. If you’re standing by the lift door, never ever use the ‘open door’ button to let the people at the back out. Timed lift-exiting is soon to be an Olympic sport.
  6. After the lift door closes, keep on talking on your Blackberry / iPhone / both at the same time. It’s important that you look important.
  7. Do utilise the lift’s mirror to apply your makeup / do your hair / inspect your pimples. What else are mirrors for?
  8. If you’re going above the 15th floor, try to start a conversation. ‘Do you know what material this shirt is made from?… Boyfriend material!’ is always a good line.*
    * Hands up, I stole this line from the Laughing Cow cheese ad.

Written by mrsdubai

August 24, 2015 at 6:33 pm

Overheard in the Christmas holidays

leave a comment »

“I’m not buying that for you now: Christmas is coming!”

Wrap me and I won't be responsible for my actions...

Wrap me, munchkin, and I won’t be responsible for my actions…

“If you fiddle with those presents, you’re not having them!”

“No, I’m not buying it: Santa might bring it!”

“If you don’t behave, I’m taking one present out from under the tree!”

“Remember: Santa’s watching you…”

[“When does school go back?”]

“No, darling… it’s not a kitten.”

Written by mrsdubai

December 21, 2014 at 9:36 pm

The Dubai Rugby 7s

with one comment

I took the children to the Family Day at the Dubai Rugby 7s last week.  It was the first time I’ve been to the rugby in 10 years. A decade ago, the Sevens for me involved little rugby, a lot of beer and a lot of crazy dancing at the concert after.

Grown women ripping into each other. Can't think why I never played rugby [Pic: www.thenational.ae]

Grown women ripping into each other. Can’t think why I never played rugby [Pic: http://www.thenational.ae]

I can’t tell you how different it was when I went with the children. I was driving, for a start, which meant no falling-down juice. And we sat in the family stand, which meant we had a great view of the rugby without having to deal with the sort of drunken high jinks that I remember from Sevenses past.

What surprised me, though, was how much the children enjoyed watching the international women’s matches. They each picked a team and got right into it. We learned that each try is worth five points and that, after a try, the person who scored gets a chance to ‘convert’ by kicking the ball through the goal, which can give two extra points. If this was news to me at the ripe old age of 43, it was even bigger news to DD.

‘Aw,’ she said, after a player scored another try and failed the conversion. ‘Rugby’s such a nice game.’

‘Really?’ I asked. We’d spent much of the afternoon watching with our hands over our mouths as grown women literally ripped each other’s limbs off down on the pitch. ‘Nice?’

‘Yes! It’s not like netball where you have to get a goal to get a point,’ she said. ‘In rugby they give you five points just for trying!’

Written by mrsdubai

December 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Silent Sunday – The early bird…

leave a comment »

The early bird catches the morning sun

… catches the sunrise

Written by mrsdubai

November 23, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Silent Sunday – Look up

leave a comment »

Even the sky loves Dubai

Even the sky loves Dubai

Written by mrsdubai

November 9, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,