Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Weekend Alone and Mail Options at Post

This weekend was another exercise in frantic social life. The Diplomat had decided to go see his Grandma in Chennai and I was wise enough to let him go alone. That way he can enjoy Grandma and her cooking, while I bond with Son. I bravely faced a weekend filled with social obligations alone. On Friday morning, I held auditions for the upcoming Hollywood Ball (another one of our famed balls in Dhaka, which includes a talent portion). After that, we rushed home for a rooftop BBQ thrown by one of our neighbors, where I are one too many delicious sausages and at least 2 burgers, plus many Tostitos (who can say "no" to Tostitos?!). In the afternoon, while Son slept, I cooked a delicious mussaka for a potluck event at the American Ambassador’s house that same night. I spent the evening at the House, pretending I will not eat much. After some lamb, chicken biryani, two different pasta salads, an interesting looking mac and cheese and 7 mini ├ęclairs, watered down with wine, it was time to call it a night. I crawled back home, released the nanny and watched the latest episodes of Grey’s Anatomy online wrapped in a massive fluffy blanket. The following morning, I struck a bargain with Son – I will put Cars on the dvd for him, as long as he lets mommy sleep for another hour or so. I am not proud of myself, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do to survive mommyhood. I slept until 8.30 am! Then, I made a delicious breakfast for both of us and pottered around the house contentedly, sewing buttons on shirts and fixing other small, neglected projects around the house. Son painted a bunch of paintings, a couple of walls and his hair. Then we took a collective nap and when we got up, the Diplomat was back. It was time to go for Trivia Night at the American Club. The Diplomat and Son came along briefly with me to see the world and to be seen by it, after which they left to sleep and mommy stayed to suck at trivia. Let’s just say it is not my forte and leave it at that.
Needless to say, after the weekend, I was quite exhausted. So, this week we are taking it easy! We have been out only one night so far (there was a trivia night at the British High Commission club, at which I sucked even more, which was remarkable).
I must share with you Son’s artistic proclivities. He is obsessed with painting and, if left to his devices, he would paint all the time and everything. One of the two most successful gifts we have ever given to him was a Melissa and Doug easel, which provides space to draw with dry erase marker, crayons on roll-on paper, chalk and paint. I recently procured a bunch of non-drip cups and 12 different paints and he has been one dreamy, artsy kid ever since. In the meantime, the Diplomat bought himself a workout bench, a pair of massive weight-adjustable dumbbells and a mechanical portable stepper. It appears that he will be working out a lot soon. The real problem was the bench, which came completely disassembled. Let’s just say that the Diplomat is not particularly engineeringly gifted and tasks like hammering a nail and putting together a magazine rack require extensive planning, reading on the internet and watching “How to” videos. Putting together the workout bench was a Herculean task. Filled with determination to prove himself, the Diplomat disappeared with the heavy package in the office. All I could hear was clanging, clanking and moving of heavy objects, coupled with deep grunting and shoving things around. Since I had pulled my back from working out too vigorously on my newly acquired treadmill, I was sitting contentedly in my governmentally-issued lazy boy reading a trashy magazine. 15 minutes later, the Diplomat appeared sullenly from the office and asked for my help. With a deep sigh, I obliged – he complained that the instructions were too confusing. The bench was done in 20 minutes. Combined with my treadmill, we now own a mini gym in the house.

This is the problem with a small post like Dhaka. Since there is not much to do besides party around, we tend to buy various crap on the internet constantly. It is just so easy to sit in your lazy-boy, peruse and buy stuff all the time. Nothing compares to the joy of receiving packages and mail from the U.S., I can assure you of that!

If you are lucky, you’ll have a choice of two different mail options at post – the pouch mail and the DPO mail (DPO is similar to the military mail, or APO). All posts have pouch mail, which is reliable, can accept shipping from any company but is slow. I am still expecting a couple of pans I ordered 3 weeks ago. Pouch typically takes about 2 weeks to deliver to post from the time your precious orders arrive in Virginia. Further, pouch mail does not allow liquids (imagine gallons of shampoo spilling over the mail if there is any damage to the bottle and you’ll understand why). DPO mail is lightning fast, less than a week to deliver. In addition, it allows you to ship liquids. I do think there is a weight restriction but not sure exactly what it is. The problem is, not every post has a DPO address and not every company out there allows DPO shipping because DPO cannot accept anything other than regular USPS mail. At least that is what I have been told., bless their understanding commercial soul, do ship DPO and therefore, we have turned into addicts. As a result, we continue to accumulate crap. Thank God for HHE.


  1. It helps to have a gym at home, particularly in extreme winter conditions and rainy season. I am happy you could do it. hope u will carry it wherever you are posted. happy that you could enjoy the weekend with son!

  2. hello from Brussels! Love reading your posts, always fun! BTW - pouch does allow 16 oz of liquids per shipment; DPO is the one that prohibits liquids.

  3. HA! Maybe paint does not qualify as liquids?? because they all arrived DPO intact.