September 28, 2012

hogging the road

This is the view looking up at our apartment.  Notice how the sky is not blue, nor gray, nor anything at all?  That's how it always looks.  We are told pollution is to blame.  You can pray for our lungs, if you think about it.  That stuff growing off the top of the building is foliage from our rooftop garden.
Since moving to this country four years ago, we have had two electric motorcycles stolen, one very nice mountain bike stolen, and one green van crushed to smithereens by a steel truck (insurance money awarded, but actual pay-out not looking good...we're not holding our breath).  Nothing against this country, mind you.  It could, and probably would be the case in any huge city in the world.  Even so, in moving to this new city, we were leery of investing another kuai in transportation.  This left us in a bit of a spot.  Though our apartment is cute, we were fast getting tired of looking at it.  We needed to get on the move!  But how?  The six of us don't fit very well in a taxi anymore, and we are quite a spectacle on a public bus.  The kids are so terrorized from all the attention by the time we get off at our stop that whatever reason we had for leaving the house no longer seems worth it.

Then the L0RD gave us a piece of manna for our jar.  Not surprising.  Another foreign family in the area bought a new van and decided to lend their old van, indefinitely, to some poor saps folks who could use it.  The next day we had the keys to this little red bubble, and we were once again mobile!  And gratefully so!
Since we are among the only razorbacks in the entire country, we have lovingly dubbed this puppy "The Hog."  If it weren't on loan, I would push to have the charging head of a razorback custom-painted on the nose.  Wouldn't that look sweet?  When we first got the van, the gears needed some work, so we actually sounded like a hog as we snorted down the road.  The van is quiet now, but the name has stuck.

Inspired, Daniel spared a few kuai for a bicycle.  It is definitely not a very nice mountain bike, but neither will it temp the thieves.  A nice green in color, it has no gears, but it does have a lovely basket in front.  Here's to being back on the road!

September 26, 2012

new beginnings

My first year as her mother tore me down.

Now the time has come to rebuild.  I'm at that flat, dusty stage, when the old rubble has been hauled off, the dirt has been combed of debris, and the ground has been leveled.  I guess I'm waiting on the emotional funds to start moving forward.  It won't be long now.  A few bricks from the old building were salvaged, of course, but they won't be laid first.  They will be nestled in among the new ones like patchwork. 

I don't look like much at the moment, but who cares about that?  I like this stage.  I always have.  It feels like anything is possible.  Not to mention the view from here.  I can see for miles everywhere I look, and there is nothing to stop the wind.  It's like that spot in Oklahoma where my dad and I pulled over and stepped out of the car.  The road stretched itself out perfectly straight in four directions, disappearing at four different points where the earth met the fuzz of the sky.  It was the moment I decided to turn my life around for good.

Few things are as sweet as a new beginning.

September 24, 2012

falling out

He pulled it out himself.  Ten minutes ago.  He is very proud.  That makes three lost teeth for our oldest child.  Handsome young man, if I do say so myself.

Kids look so much more grown-up when the baby teeth come out.  Sheesh.  It seems like yesterday they were cutting their way in, the devils, and we didn't go anywhere without a tube of Orajel and a tiny, pink, sticky bottle of infant Tylenol close at hand.  Tonight I will tuck that tooth under Bright's Thomas the Tank Engine pillowcase, and then tomorrow I will throw it away.  Baby teeth, like so many things in nature - the tide, the seasons, the hair on a man's head - point to the very brevity of our lives.  Our days come in, and they go out.

role play

To annex my last post, here is a picture of what happens nearly every evening on our living room rug.  As you can see, Daniel, muscle-bound as he may be, is facing a challenge here.  One very scrappy, very tough 5-year-old has him mounted, and one very clever 7-year-old has his head in a firm hold.  And the heavy weight hasn't hit the scene yet! 

Ah, there he is.
My mother always said in moments like this, when my brothers and dad were rolling around on the carpet, "Somebody's gonna get hurt!"  Now I'm the one saying it.  History has a way of repeating itself.

And I kid you not, this was what their baby sister was doing during their testosterone fest.  Folding laundry.  I might be a conservative, but I swear I am not brainwashing them.

September 23, 2012

Their new club

We were reading about Sir Lancelot last week.  Obviously.
All three Rupp boys are very attached to Daddy these days.  I am told it will be like this from here on out.  I love it!  Daniel once read, in Dangerous Journey, that only manhood can affirm manhood.  I couldn't agree more.

The other day, during our lunch, Bright was crying and could not be comforted.  He called it "growing pains."  He said he needed to talk to his daddy.  We got the two of them on the phone, and the boy calmed right down.  I couldn't help but snap a picture of that crocodile tear.  Priceless.

For the record, though, I am his best "freind."  That has to count for something:)

September 20, 2012

a goodbye of the worst, and best kind

We drove west toward the beach, Dad and Daniel and I, exchanging few words.  It was morning, and Grammy was keeping the kids at the condo so I could say goodbye to my uncle.  As we rode, I was thinking about the past.  I was thinking about his booming voice that always was so kind, and how quick his smile always came.  I have the same smile, it belonged first to his mother (my grandmother), and her twin sister, though I suppose it came from someone else before that.  He had my grandmother's dark skin, too, and her thoughtfulness, and her loyalty, and her joy.  All four of the kids in Dad's family got the trait of joy.  It is a strong trait.  I have it, too.

When we got to the house, my aunt opened the door with a smile.  There was wear on her face, but her eyes were bright.  Her husband, who's arm she had been on since high school, was still with her, for now, and she was grateful.  My uncle sat on a stool in the kitchen, the outline of his bones showing through his cotton shirt.  The cancer had not been kind.

We made our way to the living room where he could sink his frame into a plush chair.  His chin nearly touched his chest because his neck hadn't the strength to hold it up. 

"You are leaving in a few days to go back to Asia again, is that right?" he said.
"Yes, we won't be back for several years," I said.
"Then this is like a funeral," he said.  He was smiling at me.
"Yes," I said, "a live funeral," and I turned my head away and cried.

When we had talked and laughed and shed more tears, we prayed together before we parted ways.  He took my hand, and I was surprised at how big and strong it still was.  I don't know what I was expecting.  I guess a man's hands are still his hands, even at the end.

After we had all said the L0RD's prayer together, I kissed him and hugged him and turned to leave.  He slowly walked us to the door.  When I looked back from the end of the driveway, I saw him standing in the shadows of the hall.  That was the last time I would see my uncle.  Dick Rademaker.  A wonderful man.

That was almost two months ago.

Today he died.  My mom called to tell me.  I sat on the edge of my bed and cried.

I love you, Uncle Dick.  I will miss you.  I will see you again!  Goodbye.


September 19, 2012

Manna Jar

There is a jar in our home which is full of small slips of scrap paper scribbled with dates and provisions.  Every time that G0D has provided for us in the last ten years, the provision has been written on a piece of white paper (sometimes on the back of a bulletin, or the back of a kids' menu, or whatever) and added to our "manna jar."  Exodus 16:31-33: ...The people of Israel called the bread manna.[a] It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.  Moses said, "This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.' So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the Lord to be kept for the generations to come.”

Through our toughest times, when the winds are crashing so hard against us that we can hardly go on, we pull down the manna jar and retrieve a few pieces, reading how G0D provided.  We have a saying in our home, and we say it often to comfort one another.  We say, simply, "G0D has never let us down."  It is true, He hasn't.  I'm betting that He never will.  He's good with a promise, that One.

The manna is precious to me.  There are nights when I have literally slept holding the jar in my arms, soaking my pillow with tears.  Some of the pieces are seemingly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, such as G0D providing Dakota as a friend for Zion, or someone giving the exact amount of money we needed to pay our electricity, or a shivering Daniel finding a new down jacket waiting for him in his office one winter day.  Others of the pieces are seemingly more significant, such as the safe and healthy arrivals of our children, or G0D saving Daniel's life in that terrible wreck last spring.  All of them, however, point to G0D's faithfulness, and every one brings comfort to a desert-time heart.  When we are hungry, He feeds us.  When we are thirsty, He brings water from the rocks.  We need be anxious for nothing in the care of a G0D like Him.

September 18, 2012

dixie chick

Jubilee's friends, sisters Julianna and Lydia, passed on their toddler-sized cowgirl boots, and the east-meets-west cuteness factor just had to be documented.

September 17, 2012

Citywide Home School Fall Kickoff Picnic

Not too excited about the three-armed race.  Then again, who would want to be tied to his sister?

Can anyone say, "High-sticking?"  In his defense, this is Bright's first time wearing a jersey of any kind.  The boy had the time of his life.

Brave lined up beside his buddy Zeb for a footrace (poor Zeb was at a bit of a disadvantage).  The girl in the green shirt is Alisa, Zeb's momma, and my kindred spirit over here.

Here is how Zeb usually gets around.  That darn cast comes up to his armpits!  A spiral-fractured femur will do that to ya.

Brave and Zion taking a break from the festivities.  Check out the bride and groom in the background, arm-in-arm in their wedding duds.  Unusual?  Not really.  Anything can happen over here, especially on a sunny day.

  Who is that cutie with sweetened puffed rice stuff all over her face?

Moments after I snapped this picture of Bright lost in a sea of girls, he ran off to play capture the flag with the tween and preteen boys.  He was having so much fun, and feeling so big, that I let him play through supper.  He really is seven going on seventeen.  Then again, aren't they all?


We feel very welcomed by the rest of the international community here, and are looking forward to a great home school year!  Next up, Fall Carnival on October 30th.  Hooray for socialization!

September 15, 2012

with this ring

I don't have the biggest rock on the block.  Not hardly.  My ring cost Daniel $250 back in 2001, and we picked it out together in our caulking-caked work clothes.  I could simply not put a price on its worth to me now.  I don't ever want a second ring.  If Daniel did buy me one, I would wear it on my right hand.  My left hand has eyes only for her first love, this platinum and diamond little ditty:
Friday morning, we thought I had lost it.  Incidentally, all of Friday was terrible, but the whole poo-of-a-day started out with Daniel and I scrambling around the apartment, turning over couch cushions and tearing through drawers, hoping to find the ring that had presumably fallen from my hand for the first time ever.

"I never take it off," I insisted, "unless I am baking biscuits.  Yes, I know I made biscuits this morning, but it isn't ANYWHERE in the kitchen, I've looked three times, and my pj's don't have pockets!!!"  I was hysterical, crying and carrying on like a girl half my age.  Daniel was trying to stay calm, but I could see the worry on his face too (though I'm fairly certain his was not a sentimental worry, but rather one that involved dollar signs, more than two hundred and fifty of them this go-round no doubt).  When it looked like all hope was lost, in the middle of Daniel's consoling words, "At least we're still married," I spotted my robe laying over the chair.  My robe!  It had been cold when I first woke up and I had started the morning in my robe!  My robe has pockets!

Sure enough.  You can guess the rest of the story.

Speaking of stories, now is a good time to tell the story of my little ring, in it's entirety (for posterity sake alone, you understand).  Let me see, I better take you back to the beginning, or almost the beginning.

It was the summer of 2001.  Memphis, TN was as hot a place that July as any I had ever known.  Daniel and I were college students, nailing shingles into tar paper for peanuts so we could have an excuse to do two things:  show the love of CHR!ST to the folks in the inner city, and kiss each other on the practice field of the University of Memphis campus well after curfew (sorry, Coach, for the gray hairs we gave you that summer).  We dated for 6 short weeks before my decisive boyfriend popped the question, and later that week I had to inform him that though I was the outdoorsy, low-maintenance, give-my-money-to-the-poor type of girl, I did, in fact, expect a ring.

So, with his most recent paycheck cashed and in hand, Daniel took me shopping for rings. We had spent the day in Little Rock,AR, where we met up with Shari and Sue-Sue, Daniel's mom and grandma, to announce the news that we were engaged and planning to live our lives out of the country (they had mixed emotions about our news, but I will stick to the story at hand).  On our way back into Memphis we swung into the mall.  Daniel had exactly $250.

The first jeweler laughed a little when we told her our budget, but then she saw that we weren't laughing and she lowered her voice and leaned in close so her boss wouldn't hear her say, "Go see my friend, Chris, on the second floor of the Oak Hall Building.  He will help you out."  We nodded our heads gratefully to Stephanie (that was her name) and we left, hoping we weren't getting into something shady.  Nonetheless, we found ourselves at the Oak Hall Building the very next day, asking for a man named Chris.  It was Half-Day-Wednesday at our job, so we showed up right from work, covered in caulking and quite out of place in his high-end shop.  Even still, he was expecting us.  With sincerity he expressed his desire to help people like us (meaning poor young kids livin' on love and a prayer, I guess) and he showed me four or five rings that he could sell to Daniel for $250.  I picked the one you see in the picture, and the rest is history.

Coach (our boss that summer, the guy who's hairs turned gray on our account) later exclaimed something to the effect of, "It's the GOSPEL!!  The only reason you got special treatment was because someone had spoken on your behalf!  You were dirty and stupid and didn't deserve anything, but you got just what you wanted and more than you needed because someone had spoken on your behalf!  Just like CHR!ST has done for us!"  (you gotta know Coach).

So there you have it.  This ain't just a ring, it's the GOSPEL, and it's back on my finger where it belongs.  And yes, Baby, I haven't forgotten your consoling words.  Ring or no ring, we'll always be married, and don't I know by now that a marriage like ours is just what we want, more than we need, and far beyond what we deserve.  G0D is so good.

September 12, 2012

Through her eyes

Last night I had both toddlers, wrapped in towels, sitting on the bathroom sink in front of me after their baths.  Toothbrushes poised in my hand, Brave begins talking about the fact that he was in my belly at one time.

"That's right, Brave, you were in my belly," I say.

Jubilee looks up at me inquisitively and asks, "I was in yo belly, too, mama?"

"No," I say, searching for more words.

Jubilee screws up her face and asks, "I was in Daddy's belly?"

"No," I say, knowing that I must come up with something other than No.

"You were in someone else's belly," I say.  Blank stares from both towels.  "We don't know who," I continue, "but you were in a lady's belly, and after that you were in an orphanage, and then we came to you and scooped you up," I say, bringing her into my arms and planting kisses all over her little face, her wet hair dripping onto my cheeks.  She is smiling now, and I decide to go on.

"Before we could get to you, we sent you presents," I say.

"Pwesents!" she says.  "Candy!"

"That's right!" I say, "candy and toys and clothes and pictures.  We couldn't WAIT to get to you.  We missed you so much."

Jubilee was beaming now, and Brave was smiling, too, and I was glad the L0RD had given me the words I needed.  I laid Jubi in her bed a few minutes later, keenly aware that many, many more such conversations are in our future.  I am looking forward to having them, because over time they will link up to a story.  Her story.  Through her own eyes.

September 11, 2012

100 mph

When Daniel walked through the door Monday evening, I was two things:  relieved he was still alive, and brought back in time.  Suddenly I was in Kentucky again, before kids came along, receiving a beaming husband through the door after his first deer kill.  His face was glowing, his chin was high, and his gray-blue eyes were dancing.  Only I wasn't in Kentucky, I was in East Asia, and he hadn't just killed his first deer.

He had just driven his first race car.
OK, to be fair, it wasn't a "race car," it was a BMW 500 series sedan, but the thing could haul (so I'm being told).  Daniel and 7 or 8 of his buddies pitched in (in honor of John's G.'s birthday) to rent the car, and the race track, for two hours of private driving.  The cost was insanely low (average people in America could never afford such an experience), and the guys nearly tore up that poor car.  Apparently the tires were bald when they handed back the keys.  I'm fairly certain none of them had ever gone that fast in a car that nice, especially on a race track.  They were taking hairpin turns at high enough speeds to cause the tires to jump across the pavement.  Daniel said, "I've never had more fun in my life."
I'm learning two lessons lately:  Travis is crazy (the guy in the pink shirt), and Daniel needs to fly small airplanes and race turbo sedans more often.  Thrill looks good on him!
NOTE:  Now you have two reasons to move over here.  A friendly lady will keep your toilets clean, and your husband can race cars for practically nothing.  Not to mention the actual reason we are here, of course;)

Click here for the video.  Daniel is riding shotgun in the video, and the birthday boy is behind the wheel.  It's very short, and well worth viewing.

September 10, 2012

higher learning and a happy birthday

Wishing Kody a happy birthday on the phone this morning, in the middle of home school, got me thinking about what it means to be educated.

My big brother did not graduate top of his class.  My parents were proud that he graduated.  Very proud.  Homework was h-e-double hockey sticks for him.  True, he didn't get a scholarship to college, and he will never get his PhD in physics. 

Big whoop.

Is he educated?  You might look at his job, driving truck across the country and back again week after week, and you might say, "Not extremely."  I beg to differ.

My big brother, in his 35 years, has gotten himself educated alright, just not in the conventional ways.  He has learned contentment through watching the horses in his care.  He has learned forgiveness through being a son, and understanding through being a step-son.  He has learned loyalty through being a friend, strength through a broken heart and gratefulness through falling in love for real at long-last.  He has learned the beauty of beginnings through being an uncle, and the beauty of endings through burying a dear friend and a beloved grandfather.  He has learned self-awareness through finding his niche, self-expression through writing, and joy through country music.  He has learned satisfaction through using his hands, tolerance through having a little brother who is very different from himself, and happiness through never letting go of his dreams.

Now I ask you, can he spell "nuisance" without using spell check?  No.  But then neither could I just now.  There are things that cannot be taught with flashcards or pop-quizes.  I hope I never lose sight of that as I teach my kids at home over the years come.

Happy Birthday, Kody! 

September 09, 2012

A bit of "land" to call our "own"

We chose this apartment...
because directly above it we have...
followed by...
opening up to our (work-in-progress) ROOF!
The view of our roof from the entrance.  There is a small pond to the left, more space ahead up the three steps, and a room to the right.
One of our palms standing in front of our pond which is drying out presently, in order that our gardener (Daniel Rupp) might be able to clean it. 
Our roof-room.  It is gutted at the moment, ready to be made into a fully-functional room.  We will either hold Rupp Academy here, or it will be a clubhouse space for the children to enjoy!
The view from the middle of the roof, looking back toward the entrance.  Roof-room to the left, pond in the far right corner.  In the forefront you can see our healthy bamboo, lots of potted greens, and one busy gardener's assistant.
The back corner of the roof, with the view of the city beyond.  Our ginko tree is there in the pot, and thanks to Daniel's hard work there are new leaves on the arbor grapevine.  Yikes, my gardener isn't wearing a shirt!  How unprofessional.
Here is a good view of the upper space. 
We have a lot more work to do, but you would NOT BELIEVE the before pictures, had we remembered to take any.  It looks like Daniel has found a hobby in East Asia!  The roof is already so good for all six of us, even without the use of the roof-room and before the removal of all the rubbish.  What a blessing, to have a bit of "land" to call our "own," where Daniel can shed his shirt and the kids can run about and I can breath the "fresh" air.  A few old bricks and some struggling old plants, and one very grateful young family.

September 08, 2012

Guangdong girls

The other day, Jubilee and Lily stood in the picture windows of their homes and waved across the courtyard to one other.  Lily was wearing a periwinkle princess dress.  Both girls are adopted from the same province in China (Guangdong), and they are both three years old.  Lily's mama, Sonya, is a really cool gal and a great "new" friend of mine (and the unofficial ringleader of the mommy-crowd around here;)

So, um, does it get any more beautiful?  Sheesh.

September 07, 2012

the trouble with Brave

Bright: "Why can't Brave be a little more calm, like Jubi?"
Me: "That's just his personality.  He has a lot of energy."

Bright:  "Maybe we shouldn't feed him so much."

September 06, 2012


Zion lives in Bright's shadow.  It's not a bad shadow to live in, as shadows go.  It is warm there, with plenty of big-brother love and plenty of fun times, but a shadow, none-the-less.  The brightest that our silly, fantastic Zion has every shone was during the four days this summer that we spent at our People Group Reunion, where he and Zeke David, Zeke Lee, and Sam Harrigan spent the weekend in a giggly, wiggly utopia.  Unfortunately, we only see our precious People Group for a few days every 2 to 3 years.

Needless to say, heavy, heavy on my heart of late has been Zion's need for a buddy.  I have been praying for a goofy 5-year-old boy to come into our lives for months and months.  Today, my prayers were answered.

I met Leanna two weeks ago.  She owns and operates Leanna's Bakery.  She is an American, married to a Canadian, who lives here and reaches-out here and homeschools here and I really like her.  Come to find out, she has a 5-year-old son named Dakota.  I convinced her to drop her son off at my apartment every Thursday afternoon when she brings her daughter to our neighborhood for dance class.  Today was the first of many, I hope, play dates with Dakota.  The boys were loud and happy and WAY too silly for Bright, and I nearly had chills I was so excited about it.  When we pray, my friends, He is listening.  He really is.

Welcome to our lives, Dakota.  See you next Thursday!

September 05, 2012

we need this

The kids' new language teacher hiked her way up to our 7th-floor apartment today, right on time.  I made sure to have the toddlers down for their nap before the teacher's arrival.  The boys were nervous but compliant.  I was hoping, hoping, hoping that this tall young lady would work out.  One just never knows with these matters.

She had a half hour with each boy.  During that half hour, the boys learned to say, "You have two flowers.  I have one leaf, " and they understood what they were saying.  That is a win in my book.  I listened to the lessons, hoping to fill in the many language gaps that I have, and I believe I did learn a thing or two (when I wasn't in the kitchen stirring my jambalaya).

When the lessons were over, she gave each boy a small twist of dried beef, which she pulled from her party-dress-shaped purse.  Then she slid her large feet into her high heeled shoes and we said, "See you on Monday" and that was that. 

Here's hoping this teacher sticks.  We need this!

September 04, 2012


Our new next-door neighbor, Alan, says, "Anything worth doing, is worth overdoing."  Alan is a funny guy.  He fights migraines every week and still maintains a delightfully prickly sense of humor.

We started school this week.  Bright is relatively happy with how things are going, though he did suggest incorporating more paleontology and geometry.  Maybe when you get to 3rd grade, buddy. 

Besides, we don't have time for anything else.  As it is, our lineup includes a family breakfast table Bib1e study, led by Daddy, complete with Bib1e memory, followed by a morning of science, math, history (thanks to all who recommended The Mystery of History!), reading, writing, spelling, drawing lessons, typing for kids, and the one that gets me the most excited - the one that starts this afternoon - CHINESE LANGUAGE LESSONS FOR KIDS!  RIGHT HERE IN OUR HOME!  TWICE  A WEEK!

Whew.  I'm exhausted just writing it all down.  Alan would be proud.  Yet I know, I do not teach alone, and the kids do not learn alone.  The King of Kings, the Teacher of Teachers, is here with us every day.


I just hope I can keep this guy out of college until he is at least 15;)

September 03, 2012

Javanese Mountain Dinner

Sue-Sue, my grandmother-in-law, left behind many things.  Shoes, for starters, and bedspreads, and coffee makers.  A red painted toilet seat, hundreds of Bib1es (hardly an exaggeration), wonderfully telling journal entries, centuries of antique furniture, the list goes on and on.

She also left behind recipes.  Thousands of them.

Not the least of which being her recipe for "Javanese Mountain Dinner."  On the evening of our (quite possibly) last meal as an extended family at Sue-Sue's farm house this summer, we prepared Javanese Mountain Dinner in Sue-Sue's memory.  It was just as warm and cold and soft and crunchy and sweet and salty and odd and lovely as ever.  Just like Sue-Sue, come to think of it.

Have a peak at a copy that Sue-Sue typed with a typewriter many decades ago and colored herself.  We took one to keep on our refrigerator in East Asia.
And here is my awesome sister-in-law with her mountain dinner in hand.
It really is good to eat, though my hunch is you'll take my word for it.  I don't blame you.  Sue-Sue, and those like her, and the era in which she lived (and cooked) have passed on.

But as for me and my house, we will eat Javanese Mountain Dinner, every now and then.

September 01, 2012

a good team

I am expected to figure out what we are having for dinner.  Dinner doesn't cook itself.  I am expected to replace the kids' clothes when they outgrow their old ones.  I am expected to keep our family in connections with friends so our hearts stay knit into the tapestry of fellowship.  I am expected to stay on top of the kids' education (and design it, and manage it, and carry it out).  I am expected to buzz the boys' heads when they start looking like feather-dusters, and trim Jubilee's bangs when they are hanging in her eyes.  I am expected to notice when the kids' nails need clipping, and when their teeth need flossing, and when their ears have wax buildup, and when one of them feels like they're running a temp, or seems nervous, or afraid, or needs a talking-to.

In return, Daniel is expected to lead us spiritually.  And handle the finances.  And notice when a creaky hinge needs gun oil, or when the toilet is running incessantly, or when another piece of paperwork is due for the adoption or our visas or what-have-you.  He is expected to study the local language, and work hard every day, and talk to folks back in the States about what we do.  He is expected to carry heavy things, and give the kids special attention (or a good talking-to).

I am expected to kill the unnaturally huge roaches in our apartment, not just jump back and scream.

When you don't kill 'em, Daniel says, not in so many words, they live to creep again.  I will always kill the ones I see, but you will have to do the same.  We are a team.

We are a good team.
I swear, I do have hair.  Why is it so hard to find cute pics of just the two of us?